Top ten cyber security stories of 2013

By Stuart Sumner
09 Dec 2013 View Comments
security risk management

This was an important year for cyber security. Could the government build on its London conference of Cyber Security of 2012 in its attempt to position itself as a global leader? Would Anonymous continue to terrify the corporate world with its distributed denial of service attacks? Would the £650m pledged to securing the UK's infrastructure by David Cameron in 2010 prove to be sufficient?

Or would something new and terrifying, the likes of which we had only dreamed of in our worst Orwellian nightmares emerge, slithering from the dark?

Here's Computing's countdown of the top 10 cyber security stories of 2013; read on to find out what they are.

10. We should replace the word 'cloud' with 'somebody else's computer', says security expert

Replacing all instances of the word "cloud" with "somebody else's computer" might make organisations stop and think about the security implications of cloud computing.

That's according to computer security expert Graham Cluley. He believes the "trendy" use of the word "cloud" has been responsible for a certain carelessness by organisations as they ship their data off to cloud providers without properly considering how sensitive data could be vulnerable if stored this way, especially if it isn't encrypted.

"You need to encrypt your data. Nobody used to use the word cloud – we all used to say 'internet' but now it's trendy to say cloud," Cluley told Computing. "I'd like to suggest a new phrase so that every time we say cloud we say 'somebody else's computer'."

Thinking about it in those terms, Cluley argued, would logically lead to IT professionals thinking a little harder about where and how they store data, especially if it is of a sensitive nature.

9. Android 100 times more likely to contract malware than iOS, says Homeland Security

Android devices are 100 times more likely to contract malware than iOS devices, a report from the US Homeland Security and Department of Justice has stated.

The unclassified report, which reveals that 79 per cent of malware threats to mobile devices in 2012 hit the Android platform, also says that only 0.7 per cent affected iOS devices, while Windows mobile platforms took 0.3 per cent, as did BlackBerry.

Surprisingly, Homeland Security states that Accenture's Symbian, which Nokia dropped in early 2011 as its primary platform in favour of Windows Phone OS, was infected by 19 per cent of malware in 2012.

The report, which goes on to state that "44 per cent of Android users are still using versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7 – known as Gingerbread", suggests that a lot of users of Google's mobile OS are suffering from "security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions".

[Turn to next page for the top 8]

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