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The real challenge for data center owners will be the increasing complexities of securing physical, virtual, and cloud-based systems, said the annual Trend Micro “12 Threat Predictions for 2012” report.

The report encompasses four primary areas: Big IT trends, mobile landscape, threat landscape, and data leaks and breaches. Trend Micro said cyber criminals will continue to use conventional attacks to target virtual machines and cloud computing services in 2012.

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Virtual and cloud platforms are easy to attack but more difficult to protect, Trend Micro said. IT administrators will have to ensure they secure their company’s critical data as they adopt these technologies.

Security and data breach incidents in 2012 will force companies worldwide to face Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) challenges, the report said. As more and more employees use personal devices, not controlled by IT departments, to access and store company data, the likelihood of data loss incidents caused by improperly secured personal devices will rise.

Cyber Security

Trend Micro also predicts security vulnerabilities will appear in legitimate mobile apps, making data extraction easier for cybercriminals. Attacks will no longer remain restricted to malicious apps, which means cybercriminals will go after legitimate apps, finding vulnerabilities or coding errors that can lead to data exposure or theft.

More hacker groups will pose a bigger threat to organizations that protect highly sensitive data. Groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec rose to prominence in 2011, targeting companies and individuals for various political reasons and these types of groups are likely to become even more motivated in 2012. They will become better at penetrating organizations and at avoiding detection by IT professionals and law enforcement agencies.

The new social networking generation will redefine privacy, with young social networkers being more likely to reveal personal information online to a wider audience beyond their friends. In time, privacy-conscious people will become the minority, which becomes an ideal prospect for attackers, Trend Micro said.

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