Symantec Predicts Rise in Apple-Targeted Malware in 2016

US software security firm Symantec Corporation warns cyber threats would increase in the next year, especially risks to Apple devices, internet of things (IoT), and critical infrastructure.

Symantec’s security intelligence team, in its report “The Internet Security Threat Report Volume (ISTR) 20”, also noted that the need for biometric security would grow, the battle between ransomware gangs and malware distribution networks will heat up, the need for encryption will escalate and the cyber-attacks and data breaches will drive the need for cyber insurance.

The report, noting that a International Data Corporation (IDC) report indicated Apple now accounts for 13.5 percent of global smartphone shipments and 7.5 percent of global PC shipments, added that the increase in usage would see rise in the level of Apple-related malware infections – denting the perception that Apple devices are “free from malware”.

It predicted that the boom in use of biometrics in last two years would further grow with major industry players implementing new capabilities both with new sensors in devices and with adoption of biometric authentication frameworks. This would ensure better security for users with significantly increased convenience for device unlocking, purchasing and payments.

The report pointed the need for improved security on IoT, or a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity which enables these objects to collect and exchange data, noting their vulnerability towards infections and new malware threats will only increase and the need for improved security in this industry will become more pressing.

It however noted operating system makers, in particularly Apple, are making good strides in enforcing security in this industry.

Symantec also predicted that in 2016, attacks on critical infrastructure would increase due to the cyber-warfare campaigns and operations by nations and other actors, while ransomware gangs, or those specialising in malware that encrypts and locks user files and releases it only in exchange of payment, will come into conflict with more traditional malware distributors.

It also said the need of encryption of data would increase with the rise of communication and interaction between people and systems over insecure and vulnerable networks like the Internet, while two key factors – new regulations that obligate companies to respond to information breaches and the increase of cybercriminals using stolen information for payment fraud, identity theft, and other crimes would drive the need of cyber-insurance.