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Cyber threats likely to revolve around political turmoil, international events

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Cyber threats that spill over from wars and political conflicts are likely to persist this year, the security technology company CrowdStrike says.

In a report that forecasts cybersecurity trends for 2014, the company says that government cyber operations may increase in North African countries undergoing political turmoil and transitions – including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – as regimes and their supporters seek to monitor dissidents and neighboring countries.

Elections in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia may draw interest from cyber criminal groups that want to influence their outcomes, the report adds.

Additionally, CrowdStrike anticipates more regime-aligned groups in the model of the Syrian Electronic Army, which targeted dissidents and conducted messaging in defense of the Assad regime.

Major international events are a potential target as well, such as the Winter Olympics and the G20 Summit. The report notes that cyber criminals often send spear-phishing emails related to major events in order to attract the interest of their targets.

The rollout of new generic top-level domains could be a hotbed for cybersecurity threats as well. Since October, the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers has introduced dozens of new gTLDs – suffixes like .com or .gov – into the central database for approved domains, one of the final steps before the registration of new domain names can begin. On Jan. 18 alone, 16 new gTLDs were delegated to the database, including .link, .club, .rich, and .build.

ICANN calls the expanded Domain Name System "one of the greatest changes to the Internet since its inception," and CrowdStrike says it will likely attract new threats. For example, the new gTLDs could enable more effective phishing attacks. The company also expects unforeseen vulnerabilities to surface when software starts to interact with the new gTLDs.

For more:
- go to the report download page (reg. req.)

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