Shane Lord, Netgear Australia and New Zealand sales & technical marketing
In 2013, increasingly sophisticated network security threats, combined with the phenomenon of bring your own device, will leave many small businesses vulnerable to malware and virus attacks.
Businesses will need to address wireless network configurations on three levels; trusted, semi-trusted and untrusted to ensure data on their systems is protected, especially from mobile devices.
Mobile malware will undergo continued change this year.
The Android system will continue to be an easy target for attacks due to the fact it is open for developers to create their own programs, giving hackers the chance to build virus ridden programs and apps that are cleverly disguised as useful downloads.
We will also see Apple users becoming more cautious as malware gets smarter and more advanced. Apple's operating systems are now becoming more of a target, which will see AV software becoming a must for any Apple user.
Malware will become more intelligent throughout the coming year, making it a further threat for businesses.
We are already seeing instances of advanced malware that is designed to hide itself in a network and steal data with the employees being completely oblivious that they have been attacked.
Once the virus is found, it also has the ability to encrypt itself and hold the computer at ransom, usually only unlocking when a money sum is transferred.
To counteract this, businesses need to have a layered approach to security. They need to protect servers from internal and external traffic, have a strategy in place for mobile devices,ensure the safety of desktops and laptops, but more importantly, provide education for employees.
Many security threats come from human error from something as simple as not updating security software. IT departments need to create schedules in which all IT hardware and software are checked for updates, ensuring protection across the board.
Social media will be a friend and foe throughout 2013. There are some great aspects of social media that businesses are utilising to promote their brand and interact with customers, but there is also a dark side.
We will see major threats come through social media channels, or what is known as social manipulation. Social media apps that contain hidden malware will pose a risk as they ask users for personal data in return to watch a fake video or to play an online game that doesn't exist.
This malware then pushes out spam without consent, trying to entice online friends to click the unsecure links. Employees need to be cautious with their social interaction online to prevent personal details being compromised.