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McAfee: Personal data explosion will aid cybercriminals


McAfee Inc. on Tuesday unveiled its 2011 Threat Predictions report, outlining top threats its researchers foresee for the coming year from a list that includes location-based services, Android and iPhone.

Google Inc.’s Android and Google TV are expected to become major targets for cybercriminals, according to the report. Also on the list are Apple Inc.’s iPhone and its Mac OS X platform.

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have created a movement toward an “instant” form of communication, a shift that McAfee said will completely alter the threat landscape in 2011. Of the social media sites that will be most riddled with cybercriminal activity, McAfee Labs expects those with URL (Uniform Resource Locator)-shortening services will be at the forefront. URLs are the format in which website addresses are written.

“The use of abbreviated URLs on sites like Twitter makes it easy for cybercriminals to mask and direct users to malicious websites,” McAfee said.

Locative services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places can search, track and plot the whereabouts of friends and strangers. “In just a few clicks, cybercriminals can see in real time who is tweeting, where they are located, what they are saying, what their interests are, and what operating systems and applications they are using. This wealth of personal information on individuals enables cybercriminals to craft a targeted attack,” according to the report.

To view McAfee reports, click here.

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