Security experts warn of rising threat to infrastructure

Online criminals looking for new areas to attack will increasingly turn on internet infrastructure, security experts have warned.

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Online criminals looking for new areas to attack will increasingly turn on internet infrastructure, security experts have warned.

Researchers at security firm McAfee's Avert labs say well known problems like phishing, spam, bots and rootkits are on the rise.

But in the years ahead new areas will become top concerns, according to Craig Schmugar, virus research manager at McAfee's antivirus emergency response team (AVERT) labs: "In the short-term, it will be the infrastructure side. ... In the long term, it will be digital entertainment."

Schmugar said the recent flaw in Windows domain name system servers, patched in May, is a good example of things to come. These servers are a critical part of the internet's infrastructure, used to convert the domain names users type into their browsers into the internet protocol addresses used to identify computers on the internet.

McAfee also expects to see hackers focus more on Wi-Fi attacks as users become accustomed to connecting to wireless networks. "We haven't heard of any real world attacks, but that's likely to become a bigger issue, especially with municipal Wi-Fi," Schmugar said.

Some security experts have warned that public Wi-Fi could be used to set up "man in the middle" attacks, where a criminal sets up a malicious wireless network and then intercepts online communication between the victims and any of the internet servers they try to reach.

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