Windows Loses Hacker Star Status In Next Decade

Type threatpost
Reporter Brian Donohue
Modified 2013-04-17T20:09:09


The next decade will see Microsoft lose its grip as the most-used and most attacked platform, as a new generation of hackers and cybercriminals diversify, launching attacks on a growing population of mobile devices and computers that run operating systems other than Windows, according to Kaspersky Lab’s 2020 cybercrime outlook.

The Kaspersky Labs forecast is based on an analysis of emerging trends in personal computers, mobile phones, and operating systems, as well as on observed changes in the network security ecosystem over the last ten years, the company said. Going into the second decade of the 21st century, the computer crime landscape will be shaped by the increasing mobility and miniaturization of devices, the transformation of virus writing into the cybercrime sphere, and the emergence of social networks, search engines, and Internet commerce.

Though it will lose its near monopoly of the operating system market, Microsoft’s Windows is likely to remain the most popular business platform in the next decade, and a top target for cyber criminals and hackers. However, where cybercriminals have long banked on Windows’ ubiquity in designing their attacks, the threat landscape in a world of competing operating systems will be such that criminals will have to choose between targeting multiple operating systems with numerous individual devices under their control or honing in on Windows by targeting corporations, Kaspersky said.

Alternative operating systems like Apple OS X and iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems are gaining momentum with consumers, despite early signs of security weaknesses around such devices and services. Despite that, Windows-based, corporate attacks are likely to rule the cybercrime landscape of the next decade. However, Windows’ continued dominance in the corporate environment will force the cyber criminal world to split into two distinct groups: those that specialize in targeting businesses and those that target systems affecting our everyday lives. The first will continue with practices of database theft, commercial espionage, and corporate reputation smearing, while the latter will make their living by targeting transportation and similar systems to change and/or steal personal data stored within. On both fronts criminals will face opposition from corporate IT departments and state-run anti-cybercrime agencies, Kaspersky said.

Continued growth in electronic payment and online banking will force the development and deployment of new security measures like payment protection and biometric identification. The report also claims that the botnets of today, which are widely used in the cybercrime industry, will be an unrecognizable thing of the past after they evolve, and presumably improve, dramatically.

Read more on Kaspersky’s security predictions for the next decade here.