The top cyber security threats in 2013 reportedly included hacktivists targeting users’ privacy at the top spot, followed by cyber espionage campaigns along with the newest craze of stealing bitcoins. Security firm Kaspersky Lab said that the revelations about the cyber crime raised questions about the way the Internet is used nowadays and the type of risks faced by users.
The firm said that this year’s top most security threat had been the breach of users’ privacy and the loss of trust following the infamous revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that made every individual suddenly unsafe even in their homes.
The security firm pointed out that one of the first visible effects of the leaks had been the shutdown of encrypted e-mail services such as Lavabit and Silent Circle.
The analysts further said that the majority of the cyber-espionage campaigns that were seen this year were designed to steal data from governmental agencies and research institutions, including Red October, NetTraveler, Icefog and MiniDuke.
The year 2013 also saw ‘hacktivism’ as a form of political or social protest and stealing money or private documents had not been the motive, and such attacks were launched to undermine the reputation of the company being targeted, as seen by hacking group Anonymous and the Syrian Electronic Army.
Virtual currency bitcoins was implemented in 2009, but was soon used by hobbyists, mathematicians as well as cybercriminals and terrorists as the currency provides an almost anonymous and secure means of paying for goods or, in the case of web criminals, a means of payment by victims to restore their encrypted files via randomware.