COMPUTER security solutions provider Kaspersky Lab said cyber-espionage, “hactivism” and nation-state sponsored cyber-attacks as among the major threats that will challenge the digital security landscape in 2013.

The firm said that a more pressing concern is the rise of cyber-attacks authorized by nation-states.

Costin Raiu, Kaspersky Lab director of Global Research & Analysis Team predicted that the rise of cyber-attacks could be an era of cold “cyber-war.”

“Looking ahead, we can expect more countries to develop cyber-weapons-designed to steal information or sabotage systems-not least because the entry-level for developing such weapons is much lower than is the case with real-world weapons,” said Raiu in a statement.

He warned that the targets for such cyber-attacks could include energy supply and transportation control facilities, financial and telecommunications systems and other ‘critical infrastructure’ facilities.

The firm said governments pressured by the growing threat of cyber-attacks against their infrastructure are compelled to use technology for monitoring suspected cybercriminals, a serious security breach that could put law enforcement to question.

“Clearly, 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 - will continue,” said Raiu.

The report entitled “Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2012: Malware Evolution” also lists legal use of surveillance tools, attacks on cloud-based networks, cyber extortion on companies and individual Internet users, and mobile malware as among the top predictions for 2013.

Raiu said 2012 was already a year for cyber-activism or “hactivism” and cyber-espionage against global private industries and governments.