Public Release: 

Georgia Tech Information Security Center releases cyber threats forecast for 2011

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), a national leader in information security research and education, today announced the release of the GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2011, outlining the top three areas of security risk and concern for consumer and business Internet and computer users. The report was released today at the annual GTISC Security Summit on the Evolving Nature of Cyber Security Threats. The summit gathers leading industry and academic leaders who have distinguished themselves in the field of cyber security.

According to the report, an increase in the number of mobile and networked devices provides an enticing target for cyber criminals to steal data and thwart the functioning of systems in a variety of venues from hospitals to utility providers.

For 2011, GTISC is forecasting three key cyber security areas where threats are expected to increase and evolve:

  • Cyber Threats Targeting Physical Systems: As infrastructure services such as electric grid and utilities become networked and connect to the Internet, they will face greater risk of disruption and misuse. In addition, cyber attack is also a growing risk for healthcare systems as more medical offices and hospitals become connected. What's more, the speed of updating the security of devices in these environments may be hampered as devices involved with such systems may be subject to regulatory guidelines.

  • Botnets: Specifically large-scale attacks that utilize more targeted malware to evade detection; in addition cyber criminals are now making more efficient use of malicious software and have been re-launching previously thwarted attacks.

  • Mobile Devices and Social Networking: As more open mobile device platforms grow in popularity and more applications become available, these devices will become more attractive targets of attacks. In addition, cyber criminals are using Twitter and Facebook accounts to lure users into handing over personal and sensitive information.

"We have to move away from the reactive mode of addressing cyber security threats and must proactively work to understand new threats and develop effective ways to contain them," said Mustaque Ahamad, director of GTISC. "We are doing this for several of the key threats outlined in the Emerging Threats report and we look forward to working with our partners to build a more secure cyber space."


More than 400 corporate and industry leaders, technologists and cyber security experts from across the country are expected to attend the GTISC Security Summit on the Evolving Nature of Cyber Security Threats. The keynote will de delivered by Ken Silva, senior vice president and chief technology officer of VeriSign. Following the address, panelists will commence a discussion and debate moderated by Rich DeMillo, distinguished professor and former dean of Georgia Tech's College of Computing. Panelists include: Paul Judge, chief scientist at Barracuda Networks; Chris Rouland, chief executive officer of Endgame Systems; David Aucsmith, senior director of the Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments; Greg Conti, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; David Dagon, post-doctoral fellow at Georgia Tech; Marc Sachs, executive director of National Security and Cyber Policy at Verizon; and Val Rahmani, chief executive officer of Damballa

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.