Here are my selections of the biggest winners and losers in Infosec and Tech in general of 2012:

Loser - Facebook:  Leaving behind their disastrous IPO, Facebook continued to struggle with their privacy policies.  And then, there’s the various frauds making the rounds about how to protect your personal information.  Those are urban legends, people.  Quit “sharing” them and forwarding them.  Add that to the incessant real fraud of shysters using Facebook for ID fraud and it doesn’t not win Facebook any awards for implementing better security.

Loser - Instagram:  Now part of Facebook, they seemed to have caught some of their privacy policy issues.  When they announced changes in their privacy policies that would allow use of user’s pictures for advertising and other uses, users rebelled.  They clarified (read reversed) the position but the damage was done and it might slow the meteoric growth of one of the bright areas of Facebook’s business model.

Loser - Samsung:  They decisively lost their patent lawsuits with apple and emboldened the big A to continue their rampant market domination.  It might also dampen other challenges to them from other big boys in the business such as Google and Microsoft.

Winner/Loser – Apple:  While they prevailed in the courtroom with Samsung, their stock took a pummeling later in the year as investors began to wonder if they had pulled all the Steve Jobs-inspired rabbits out of their hat.  Also their new maps product was a total flop.  Perhaps the rumored Apple TV (allegedly not a box, an actual TV) will revive their mojo.

Loser - Iran:  When are these guys going to figure out basic antivirus protection for their most sensitive assets i.e. their nuclear program?   They continued to hit by IT disasters initiated by viruses alleged engineered by Israeli and US backed covert efforts.  Not that we really want them to figure out.  It would be fine with us if their plans to be a nuclear power continue to be stymied by the most basic IT security.

Winner - US and Israel’s cyberforces:  The flip side of this is the big wins (mainly against Iran) that our and Israel’s covert cyber forces racked up.  The neat thing is that this advanced our national security goals without firing a shot or impacting the Iranian people in a negative way.  It certainly means that more funds will be directed to this area and it will trickle down to Infosec companies, though mostly the inside the Washington beltway types.  The darker side of it is the potential for these weapons to be turned against us, but so far that hasn’t happened in a major way. Let’s hope we can continue that winning streak.

Loser - Microsoft: Even though they spared no expense in terms of launching their new tablet, it appears the Surface has hit the surface pretty hard atleast so far.  Also, sales of Windows 8 have been a bit less than stellar.  Again, both of these can improve over time, but not the resounding launches that Microsoft needed to prove they are back in the game. 

Loser - McAfee (the man, not he software):  Apparently being paranoid, while usually a good attribute in this business can go too far.  Mr. McAfee went off the reservation, quite literally ending up in Costa Rica, wanted for murdering his neighbor and drug running.  Any kept track of where Peter Norton is?

Winner/Loser – Google:  They won big with its exoneration by the US Feds and its monopoly investigation.  Which was always a fraud anyways, I mean it’s a website for goodness sake.  And the hypocrisy was nauseating of some of the companies joining the fray, which included Microsoft who themselves spent time in the courts over similar charges.

Loser - Linkedin:  One of the largest security breaches of the year happened over at the business social network Linkedin, when they lost over six million of their user’s passwords to hackers.  While not many of their users would be that upset if their Linkedin accounts were hacked into, those passwords were often used for further ID theft, given most people’s habit of using the same password EVERYWHERE. 

It seems we have ended 2012 with more losers than winners but here’s to hoping that 2013 will be better!