Having launched some deadly attacks in 2012, cyber criminals are gearing up for more sophisticated attacks in 2013. Internet security solutions firm Kaspersky has forecast that cyber-espionage carried out through targeted attacks could get more polished next year.

“Many attacks start by hacking the human, that is, by tricking employees into disclosing information that can be used to gain access to corporate resources. Staff with public-facing roles such as sales are particularly vulnerable to such attacks. We can expect the growth of cyber-espionage in 2013,” the firm said in its predictions for the New Year.

It points out that no organisation is safe. All organisations hold data that is of value to cyber-criminals. They can sell the data in the underground market or use it as ‘stepping-stones’ to reach other companies.

It also predicts an increase in ‘hacktivism’ using which political activists score a point or two over organisations or countries.

On State-sponsored cyber attacks, Kaspersky says more countries would develop cyber weapons, designed to steal information or sabotage systems. “It’s also possible that we may see ‘copy-cat’ attacks by non-nation-states, with an increased risk of collateral damage beyond the intended victim of the attack. The targets of such cyber-attacks could include energy supply and transportation control facilities, financial and telecommunications systems,” it pointed out.

There would also be an increase in the use of legal surveillance tools. The use of legal surveillance tools has wider implications for privacy and civil liberties. And as law enforcement agencies and Governments try to get one step ahead of the criminals, it’s likely that the use of such tools, and the debate surrounding their use, would continue.