McAfee Threat Report Points to Windows 8 as "Next Big Target"

Paul Lilly

McAfee predicts rapid evolution of cyberthreats in 2013.

If you thought Windows 8 would provide refuge from an increasingly malware infested web, think again. Security firm McAfee has just released its annual Threat Predictions report in which it highlights the top threats it foresees for the coming year, and like it or not, Windows 8 is going to be a major target. Despite improved security in Windows 8, McAfee believes targeted malware will be available faster than it was for Windows 7.

"Criminals go where the money is. And if this means they have to cope with a new, more secure version of Windows, that's just what they'll do," McAfee stated in its report (PDF) . "In many cases they attack the user and not the OS. Via phishing and other techniques users are tricked into revealing information or installing a malicious program. So if you upgrade, don't rely solely on Windows to protect your system. Remain vigilant and watch out for phishing scams."

According to McAfee, big-scale attacks will increase in number next year, continuing a recent trend towards delivering destructive payloads designed to cause as much damage as possible.

"As with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the technical bar for the hackers to hurdle is rather low," McAfee notes. "If attackers can install destructive malware on a large number of machines, then the result can be devastating."

The rest of the report reads like a gloom and doom scenario. If you want to stay safe out there, you'll need to be on the lookout for NFC worms, malware that blocks your phone from updating, an explosion of ransomware on both Windows PCs and Mac OS X computers, evolving rootkits, and more.

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