Cyber Criminals to target smartphones and tablets
Increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets will also make them vulnerable, as was evident with the rising security threats to mobile devices in 2012 in the form of malwares, viruses, Trojan etc. And this will continue to grow in 2013. The Android OS in particular is at a higher risk. As per a report on Trends for 2013 presented by ESET, the amount of Malware for Android has grown at a dizzying pace. It states further that malware targeting Android will not only keep on rising at a considerable rate, but will also continue to evolve until they are very similar in capability to their peers in the world of more traditional computers.
And surprisingly, despite of our increasing dependence on smartphones and tablets, there is very little awareness when it comes to security threat that they pose. Aware of this, the cyber criminals are increasingly targeting these platforms. According to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2012, in India, it is estimated that more than 42 million people fell victim to cybercrime in the past twelve months, suffering approximately US $8 billion in direct financial losses. David Hall, Regional Consumer Product Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific, Norton by Symantec, draws attention to two major trends that we will witness. He says, “In 2013, we will see the cyber equivalent of saber rattling, where nation states, organisations, and even groups of individuals will use cyber-attacks to show their strength and 'send a message'. On the other hand, with the addition of payment methods in social media, we expect to see e-payments grow in popularity in 2013. And where there's money, there will surely be cybercriminals following right behind to rip us off. Most likely, we'll see socially spread malware that takes over the user's account, re-sets passwords and uses the encrypted but stored credit card information to make real world purchases for the crooks.”
Vincent Weafer, Senior Vice President of McAfee Labs
McAfee’s annual 2013 Threat Predictions report too points out to the fact that the threats to mobile devices will become the focus of cybercriminals. It also predicts that the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and we will witness increase in large-scale attacks that attempt to destroy the infrastructure. Vincent Weafer, Senior Vice President, McAfee Labs, says, “Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organisations and homes. In 2012, McAfee Labs saw the number of mobile threats increase dramatically as ransomware expanded into mobile devices. The development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransomware technologies that will 'lock up' a phone or tablet, and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid, will be a prominent trend in 2013. Also, while hacktivist attacks won’t end in 2013, if ever, they are expected to decline in number and sophistication. In 2013, many more of the world’s military units will be on the front line of social networks, communicating more frequently. State-related threats will increase and make the headlines while suspicions about government-sponsored attacks will grow.”
On the other hand, owing to the increasing threats to the mobile devices, even telcos are gearing to address these issues. Yatish Mehrotra, Hub Head-South, Tata DOCOMO, says, “We are witnessing increasing trends of mobility apps, tablets and smartphones being launched and with that, there is an increasing concern on the data security on such devices. Therefore, there will be sleuth of security solutions targeting the different ends of the spectrum. There is an increasing demand and awareness among the users, be it at micro level or macro level, to secure the data that is flowing in free space-cloud. We are working towards that direction to provide some solutions that secures data on mobile. We are also witnessing increased trends in cloud services as well. The coming year will see telecom space move from providing the conventional voice services to a platform for developing unique Lifestyle and Data Security Solutions for the users.”
Expect m-commerce to take-off next year
The boom in e-commerce has been exponential, with sites mushrooming on a daily basis. But in the long run, only the ones that are good will survive, while the others will have to shut shop. This, as consumers get pickier about shopping from sites that deliver over simple promises of great discounts. As Muralikrishnan B – Country Manager, eBay India, points out, “The year 2013 will be more defining in shaping up of the industry as players with sustainable business models and the ability to manage scale will dominate the consumer’s wallet and win in the long run. The year gone by has seen new player announcements, consolidations and closures of existing players, expansions into new areas of business and evolving online consumerism. As the funding environment for eCommerce companies has softened, long-term players are now re-thinking their strategies to create sustainable business models. The coming year will segregate boys from men. As the long term players get their act together, the industry will see significant advancements in creating affinity amongst consumers, a reliable ecosystem with regards to payment gateways and shipment of the purchase.”
Muralikrishnan B, Country Manager, eBay India
Ishita Swarup – CEO & Founder, 9rasa and 99labels, agrees with him as she opines that the e-commerce industry will be more organised. She says, “My calculated guess is that two or three key players will emerge from each space and consolidate their energies and resources to form a stronger presence in specific areas of operation. This has been a pattern globally too. Since the global ecommerce industry is much better established, we have a lot to learn from them. They teach us invaluable lessons on how to get the most from platforms like Social Media, how to smoothen logistics and how to put technology to work for us, among other lessons. I think it’s a year to watch e-commerce in India take on new shapes and dimensions; it’s well poised for bigger things to come!”
Another major trend that will define next year is m-commerce, Muralikrishnan B says, “mobile commerce has picked up tremendously in the country and will continue to grow in 2013. In fact, an increasing number of companies globally are leveraging mobile phones to generate organic sales. In India too, the need for mobility and convenience along with the desire to grab the best deals are the primary driving force behind mobile commerce. With the rapid increase in smartphone penetration in the country, mobile commerce has gained increasing acceptance amongst users.”
Sundeep Malhotra, CEO Homeshop18.com
While Sundeep Malhotra, CEO, Homeshop18.com, agrees that m-commerce is the future, he is more cautious in his approach. He says, “The industry is just starting to look at m-commerce, but there are a lot of challenges. One of them being mobile Internet, as 3G has not been one of the most stable services. 4G is launched, but isn’t widely available. Also, other problems include bandwidth and high device prices. There is a long way to go for m-commerce. As bandwidth increases and device prices come down, m-commerce will also get a good push. Homeshop18, as a part of this industry, is setting itself up for this time-run. Mobile coupons are coming up but mobile shopping is still slow. We expect 4G to pick up next year and hence, support m-commerce. The future is very rosy as mobile penetration is very high and the customers will have a chance to reach us easily.”
Ankit Khanna, VP – Product Management, Snapdeal.com, too accepts that while m-commerce is the way to go and feels there are lot of challenges. Nevertheless, having launched their m-site, he is optimistic that it will give them an edge over others. He says, “Establishing our mobile platform was quite difficult and challenging. To begin with, making people transact on the web was itself a biggest challenge due to things like trust issues, limited card reach and the fact that people wanted to have a price advantage over offline transactions in order to make them buy. Secondly, even though the mobile Internet penetration has grown a lot in the last 12-15 months, it’s largely limited to the content that is in the lines of social network, emails and browsing sites; people were not looking to shop. And the third reason is that the infrastructure to facilitate mobile transactions is bad; I would say that there are not enough payment gateways to make payment solutions available on the mobile to enable transactions.”
Sachin Bansal, Co-founder and CEO, Flipkart
On the other hand, Sachin Bansal, Co-founder and CEO, Flipkart, is optimistic about the future of m-commerce. He says, “We are betting on m-commerce in a big way in 2013. Mobile shopping has experienced exponential growth in 2012 and we see mobile’s revenue contribution to online shopping going up in the near future. Increased Internet and smartphone penetration is leading to wider usage and hence, growth in m-commerce. Today, mobile is the only medium of Internet access for a large customer base. Another factor that will contribute to this market is speed of access. While India may still be far behind when it comes to 3G penetration, this is also set to grow. While it’s early days yet, the potential is huge. E-commerce firms that put in the effort in designing tailor-made mobile interfaces that enhance the on-the-go browsing and buying experience are the ones who will capture the market.”
Talking about the growing opportunities in the storage industries, Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager – India & SAARC, Seagate Technology, said, "The mobile lifestyle is becoming increasingly visible today both at enterprise and consumer levels. We believe that tablet offerings will continue to evolve and may result in a notebook refresh cycle to lengthen, depending on macro-economic conditions and competitive product offerings. We are optimistic that the wide variety of new notebook offerings, including thin and light systems, will result in renewed growth in this market over the next 12 months. We also remain optimistic about the long term impact of Windows 8 and other operating systems that enhance the user experience by incorporating touch, keyboard, pen, voice and gesture. All this means more storage opportunities."
Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager – India & SAARC, Seagate Technology
Amongst others trends that we will witness in the coming year, BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device” is something that will be increasingly adopted and in-keeping with these, the business houses will have to adapt their policies to safeguard their privacy and security. A recent Gartner survey found that 70 percent of respondents have or were planning to have "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies within the next 12 months to allow employees to use personal mobile devices to connect to enterprise applications, while 33 percent of all organisations surveyed currently had BYOD policies in place for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Also, fanning this trend is the increasing adoption of cloud that we are likely to witness in the coming years.
Do you agree with the predictions for 2013?
Wishing all our readers a happy New Year.
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