Fortunately, since I’ve been fighting malicious mobile code since 1987, I’ve been able to see what it has done in the past, and how it has exploited the future. One thing is guaranteed about malicious mobile code writers, what becomes popular becomes exploited. Here are my thoughts about the future of various malicious mobile code types.
Here’s the good news: DOS boot and executable viruses will decrease. Windows executable viruses will decrease. That’s it. That’s the end of the good news. In the short-term future, macro viruses will continue to spread in popularity. Eventually, Microsoft (and third parties) will produce reasonable default security to prevent malicious mobile code exploitation. Trojans, worms, and viruses (which attack other platforms) will continue to grow.
Remote access Trojans will grow in number and eventually cause a national news event (remember you read it here first). DOS viruses had their day with Michelangelo. Macro viruses had theirs with Melissa. VBScript viruses had theirs with Love Letter. In each case, the public was warned and did little to protect itself. Eventually, a malicious writer makes one small change that makes their rogue program spread around the world. The world reacts, stunned by the act, preventative actions are taken, and the rogue code is forgotten about two weeks later. Only this time, the hackers will have valuable data.
Ditto for an Internet browser-based attack. Almost weekly ...