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A Look Back; A Look Ahead - Cyber Safety in 2012 and Predictions for 2013

What are some of the key cyber safety and security news events of the past year? I've tried to summarize some of the big stories in areas such as cybercrime fighting; cyber bullying stories; legislation; and social media news. This might be the only blog entry I ever write that brings together a school bus driver, a K-pop music star and President Obama. 


Many of us at Symantec and Norton have been putting our heads together to predict some of what we can expect to see in 2013, as well. Of the predictions we've come up with (you can read the full list in detail over at Director of Security Technology and Response Kevin Haley's blog) I want to draw your attention in particular to two: the likelihood that cyber terrorism will get highly personal as attacks focus on individuals or minority groups and the possibility that new electronic payment methods could be vulnerable to hacks and breaches. 

What do I mean by personal attacks? We've already seen cyber criminal methods used by government groups in conflict such as Stuxnet. And we've seen political efforts against government agencies, as long ago as when the Estonian government's websites were hit by denial of service attacks. Not new. I expect to see more targeting of groups on a smaller scale such as people in groups on social media. Someone who has a different and strongly-held opinion on an issue might join the group in order to access the group's members, then distribute malware to infect their computers and post confusing, abusing or disruptive messages using their accounts as a platform. Or steal their credit cards and make donations in "their name" to the opposing side. 

E-payments have so far been adopted slowly by consumers but with the addition of payment methods in social media, we expect to see e-payments grow in popularity in 2013. And where there's money, there will surely be cybercriminals following right behind to rip us off. Most likely we'll see socially spread malware that takes over the user's account, re-sets passwords and uses the encrypted but stored credit card information to make real world purchases for the crooks. 

Let's take a quick look at some of the stories in 2012 that stood out to me and if you think I've missed something, please add it in the comments area below. 




I purchased Norton 360 for my pc four months ago. This week my computer was infected by a virus (MVR). I called Norton's FREE 24/7 Technical Support hotline and after being on hold for ten minutes, talked to a customer rep who listened to my problem, asked alot of questions and then offered me to transfer me to another rep who would remote log into my computer for a $16.99 fee. After I told him I was not going to pay he then offered to transfer me to another rep who would walk me through the steps necessary to clean my PC.

At this point I was transferred to Sam, whom I had to explain everything once more. Sam did a remote log into my PC (for free..never asked for any money) and was unable to fix the problem. At this point (we're now two hours into this mess) Sam offers me a transfer to another rep who for $99 will fix my computer just like new. I complained and asked him: "Let me get this straight, I purchased Norton 360 so that it can identify viruses but not clean them?" to which replied: "Yes, in order for us to clean your virus you would have had to purchase the Virus Removal Insurance at $8.99/month prior to the infection." I asked Sam if the conversation was being recorded; he say yes, I said GREAT!

This is grounds for a Class Action suit against Symantec Corp. based on false advertisement at the very list.

This comment has been moved to the forum devoted to Norton Family.

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