Cyber criminals target smartphones

It seems as if nefarious cyber criminals are now seriously targeting mobile devices as well as PCs. Indeed, malicious attacks against mobile phones increased by a staggering 46 percent last year.

As security researchers at McAfee point out, cyber criminals are primarily interested in compromising Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhone – as the two popular products continue to rapidly gain market share.

Nowdays, smartphones are fast becoming personal PCs that see every action from banking to chatting.

As smartphones store more personal information, like PIN numbers, contacts and linked accounts such as mobile payment methods or the iTunes store, they become a more attractive target.

Among the new threats discovered last year was a malicious Google Android app that once downloaded, sends premium rate text messages to rack up a huge bill.

Aside from standard malware, it’s also possible for digitial criminal elements to spy on smartphone users by deploying sniffers over unencrypted WiFi connections. With these new techniques, hackers can record calls and text messages, as well as gather sensitive bank information.

Spying is not just an underground hack, as more mainstream companies offer such services to law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide.

According to McAfee, the most vulnerable target is still Nokia’s Symbian operating system. Google and Apple are also attractive targets, which is a major benefit for BlackBerry as its system offers strong encryption.

To keep your smartphone safe, security researchers recommend being careful what information you share when connected to public WiFi, as well exercising caution in downloading third party apps.

(VIa Telegraph UK)