MANILA, Philippines - Cyber attacks on state organizations and businesses will continue this year and will have a "predominantly political" agenda, security software firm Kaspersky Lab said on Tuesday.
In a report titled Cyberthreat Forecast for 2012, author and Kaspersky Lab expert Alexander Gostev said the attacks will spread beyond Western Europe and the United States, affecting Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
"At the moment, the majority of incidents affect companies and state organizations involved in arms manufacturing, financial operations, or hi-tech and scientific research activities," Gostev said.
"Companies in the natural resource extraction, energy, transport, food and pharmaceutical industries will be affected, as well as Internet services and information security companies," he added.
Gostev said cyber conflicts this year will "revolve around traditional confrontations: the US and Israel versus Iran, and the US and Western Europe versus China."
He said, however, that "hacktivist" attacks on businesses and state organizations may be used as a diversionary tactic to conceal other types of attacks.
Last year, online hackers attacked private intelligence analysis firm Strategic Forecasting Inc. The company's website, known as Stratfor, was offline for several days following the attack.
Weapons and threats
Gostev said "weapons" used to destroy data such as kill switches and logic bombs will be more popular this year since these are easier to manufacture.
These weapons, he said, can be outsourced to private contractors used by the military or other government agencies.
He added that in many cases, the contractor is not aware of the customer's aims.
Meanwhile, Kaspersky Lab expects Google Android to remain the target of choice for the mobile malware market.
"The emergence of the first mobile drive-by attacks and mobile botnets are also forecast. Mobile espionage will become widespread and will most probably include data theft from mobile phones and the tracking of people using their telephones and geolocation devices," the company said in a statement.