In 2010, new forms of malware were developed, led by Stuxnet, that ushered in a new era of cyber crime. According to a report from MSNBC, Stuxnet was a uniquely crafted malware worm because it was designed to avoid striking against the average internet user. Instead, its designed limited its range to industrial machines on closed networks, specifically targeting areas where it could do significant damage without impacting the international populace.

According to the report, the impact of Stuxnet represents the overall direction of malware because more sophisticated programs are being developed to target specific groups and serve political and economic purposes.

WikiLeaks and its ensuing bedlam also displayed the potential of politically focused malware. The site initially created significant problems because any individual capable of getting unauthorized information was able to release previously confidential data to the masses. Even more chaos was generated after the site was shut down. When the plug was pulled on WikiLeaks, activists began sending denial of service attacks at websites openly opposing or refusing to host the site. As a result, a number of online businesses were temporarily shut down and political-based malware struck again.

The report also warns that new threats are rising to attack the diverse range of devices connecting to the internet, especially mobile phones. According to the report, the past few years have been marked by experts saying mobile web viruses will start appearing, but mainstream deployment of mobile technologies in 2010 indicates increased potential for mobile malware in the new year.

As a result, consumer and business users alike need to be concerned about a number of new technologies that could threaten an individual or company's safety and security. For example, the report said geolocation can present a significant risk that goes beyond devices being hacked. If a cyber criminal is able to access an individual's geolocation account, such as Foursquare, the criminal can identify routines in the user's schedule and use that knowledge to plan an attack. This can not only lead to significant personal risk, but can also put businesses in the line of danger as company devices could be stolen.

Malware attacks are also increasingly showing up in cloud computing environments. Kaspersky Labs recently identified a new strand of malware designed specifically to target applications running on the cloud. The Trojan was able to gain access to a popular cloud application sharing and data storage service, using the system to hack into users' machines.