Mobile Devices More Vulnerable to Hacking
Business + Economy

Mobile Devices More Vulnerable to Hacking

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

Malware will go more mobile next year as digital currencies fuel malicious ransomware attacks worldwide, according to computer security firm McAfee Labs.

After the data breach at Target this month exposed a growing threat from hackers, companies and individuals alike should be careful not to keep all their data in the same cloud service, McAfee Chief Privacy Officer Michelle Dennedy said Monday on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

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Some cloud networks remain more private than others, she said. "What I would suggest to you as an individual is to be quite wary of cloud computing, and limit and separate the type of information that you share on various cloud platforms," Dennedy said.

Further, cyberattacks should become harder to detect as "criminal gangs and state actors" develop self-deleting programs and other stealth digital weapons, said a McAfee research note on cybersecurity released Monday. 

The firm predicts that the ransomware attacks, which lock a device or program until a user submits a payment in a form such as bitcoin, will prefer mobile devices as targets rather than PCs or laptops.

"Social attacks" targeting individuals' and companies' financial data are expected to become "ubiquitous," McAfee said in the note.

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As corporate cloud-based networks proliferate and more people work from home, hackers will develop new types of attacks on remote platforms. As a result, companies will not be able to rely on the safety of a third-party cloud service, Dennedy said, which could leave small businesses without dedicated security staff exposed.

Companies must take security into their own hands instead of blaming a cloud network in the event of an attack, she said. 

"That's not going to be the case for you when you have a data breach," Dennedy said. "It's your brand. It's your customer. It's your data. So you have to follow through on the entire life cycle of protection."

This article originally appeared in CNBC.

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