Revealed: top five cyber threats for 2011

Beware tablet hacking, trending topics and social media theft, says internet security firm
Revealed: top five cyber threats for 2011
Tablet devices will be increasingly at risk form cybercriminals, says Norton
By Karen Leigh
Tue 28 Dec 2010 12:30 PM

At the close of a year which saw Wikileaks dominate the news, internet security firm Norton has released its list of the top five cyber threats that will face Middle East web users in 2011.

“It’s almost inevitable that 2011 will see a larger number of people in the Middle East region falling victim to cybercrime than ever before,” Tamim Taufiq, head of consumer sales MENA, for Symantec, which provides Norton solutions.

“The number of high-profile cyber attacks witnessed globally is increasing consumer fears about the threats of spending time online.”

Particularly during festive periods, Taufiq adds.

“With technology gifts and purchases surging in the winter holiday season, the more connected we become in the Middle East, the more cyber crime opportunities are created.”

The five biggest threats to protect against in the new year are:

Social media identity theft

With Facebook clearing 500m users and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, rated as TIME’s Person of the Year, social media is more popular than ever. Photos and personal information posted are an easy target for hackers, and many users have already had their personal pages infiltrated. Norton warns against opening suspicious messages that appear to be from friends, and from giving out passwords.

Smartphone and tablet hacking

The iPad caused a frenzy in 2010, but it also created a new frontier for hackers. As a handful of tablets corner the market, Norton warns that it’s inevitable that attackers will hone in on them, making confidential data loss increasingly common.

Trending topics

Beware hackers who might try to infect links to popular sites and searches. Cybercriminals are savvy when it comes to the latest social trends. Whether it’s X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing gossip, cybercriminals catch on to these trends and poison search engine results, which can leave users at risk of clicking on an infected link.

Shortened web addresses

One of the least-addressed security problems. Norton warns users not to clink on URLs that appear to have been shortened, as they can lead to malware and infection.


A close cousin to phishing, where hackers lead users to bogus websites even if they’ve typed in their correct, intended URLs. Pharmers are more difficult to detect because they are not reliant upon the victim accepting a ‘bait’ message.

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