I do know what criminal lists my details have ended up on, writes Tim Holman, but even I get regular phishing emails claiming my mobile phone bill is spiralling out of control (please open this zip file), that companies house is going to strike 2-sec off the companies register (please open this zip file) and – it being Christmas – expensive gifts have been delayed by UK customs (please open this zip file).  
Internet service and email providers are too slow to take this stuff off the wire and it inevitably ends up in my inbox.  

While I might know that malware can be easily encoded into a multitude of different compression formats that anti-virus systems simply do not detect, your average user simply will not know this.
Given the elaborate, thought-out, well-spelt (they are all in good English) and targeted attacks we have seen in 2013, it looks like 2014 will be bringing more misery to users that simply are not aware that their computers can be completely taken over and used for nefarious purposes. 
Unfortunately the spate of big data breaches we have seen over the past years have furnished cyber criminals with the one thing we do not want them to have – personal information. 
In the wrong hands, this information IS being used to carry out targeted attacks, and they are not going to stop.
Tim Holman is president of ISSA-UK and CEO at 2-sec.
Read more on security priorities for 2014
Security Think Tank: ISF’s top security threats for 2014
Security Think Tank: KuppingerCole’s security predictions for 2014

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This was first published in December 2013

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