Lots of people offer predictions at this time of year. Not to be left out of the plethora of voices offering their predictions for 2009, here are my educated guesses as to what we'll see in the new year:
* Just as retailers get more creative and aggressive during economic downturns, so will malware authors. We will see significantly more timely and targeted malware efforts focused on things like home foreclosures, retirement plans, stock opportunities, the new presidential administration and the like, all of which will attempt to exploit news events and other timely information to get the attention of potential victims.
* We will see much more interest in e-discovery, archiving and forensics on two levels. First, there will definitely be more government oversight of financial services markets, as well as “bailout” fund recipients. As the U.S. federal government acquires a stake in many firms, expect that there will be more scrutiny of the books at these firms. Second, layoffs and financial turmoil will generate lots of lawsuits, requiring companies to defend themselves vigorously, meaning they will need ready access to their archives of e-mails and other electronic documents.
* Social networking will be a major target for cyberthieves as laid-off personnel use these tools to build their personal networks. Facebook has been targeted by the Koobface virus, as well as many others – expect many more such attacks against popular social networking sites.
* Resistance to cloud-based applications will soften considerably as decision makers look to maintain existing services with fewer resources. I anticipate that the biggest gains will be seen in hosted security, hosted archiving and hosted e-mail.