iOS to Become Important Target for Malware in 2011, McAfee Predicts

Malware targeting Apple’s iOS devices is on the rise, according to McAfee Labs who’s just released its 2011 Threat Predictions report, written by Dmitri Alperovitch, Toralv Dirro, Paula Greve, Rahul Kashyap, David Marcus, Sam Masiello, François Paget, and Craig Schmugar of McAfee Labs.

The PDF document reveals that McAfee has seen “significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most.”

With Apple’s iPhone and iPad being at the forefront of their product categories, McAfee expects them to be increasingly targeted by malware this year.

“These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we’re already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss,” McAfee says.

The security vendor specifically notes that, “We have also begun to see some very significant changes in the types of threats that aim at Apple iPhones and other mobile devices.”

The PDF report also predicts that social media sites with URL-shortening services will be surrounded by heavy cybercriminal activity.

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

“With more than 3,000 shortened URLs per minute being generated, McAfee Labs expects to see a growing number used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes,” McAfee researchers write.

Finally, the security firm acknowledges potential threats targeting location services like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook, deeming these as the holy grail for cybercriminals looking to see what people are tweeting and what their current location is.

McAfee Labs also anticipates more integration of location-based functions within botnets as GPS features continue to become more widespread.

According to the most recent rumors, Apple is busy working on its own navigation and mapping solutions, likely trying to stay ahead of the curve.

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