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Mobile Security Threats

February 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Mobile Security Threats

  

Is mobile security something that you should be concerned with?

  

During the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas in 2012, experts illustrated emerging security threats against many technologies used in mobile devices like near field communication (NFC) used for financial transactions, baseband firmware and HTML 5, and many other growing schemes.

 If we listen to those in the know, then the answer is yes as Malware, SMS Spoofing and Toll Fraud are a few of the common ways that cybercriminals attack our smartphones….and our PCs.

  

Malware

 Like the malware that can infect your PC, Android malware can create similar security issues on your phone and then hop over to your PC and infect it too. Take for example, the Android malware that emerged on Google Play that installs a Trojan on your PC. Some sources claim that these kinds of attacks have tripled over the past year. Some reports claim it is more likely that a 64% increase has occurred.

 Regardless of the exact numbers, the fact is that these kinds of security threats are becoming more common in the Android and iOS worlds (FinFisher malware).

  

SMS Spoofing

 According to PCworld.com, this kind of attack permits the bad guys “to send people to phishing Websites under the guise of a financial institution, or allow criminals to plant spoofed messages as false evidence on other peoples' phones. It also opens up other types of manipulation where the recipient thinks a message is coming from a trusted source.”

 The iPhone, in particular, is potentially vulnerable to this scheme: “when the sender specifies a reply-to number this way, the recipient doesn't see the original phone number in the text message. That means there's no way to know whether a text message has been spoofed or not.”

 And this kind of security threat doesn’t discriminate on what kind of platform your mobile device utilizes, so it’s a significant threat.

  

Toll Fraud

 These are a category of malicious apps that are typically from the Android market that secretly send out text messages without the phone owner knowing. The result is hefty charges that the owner can’t dispute because the terms of service are buried from sight.

 Those fun and free apps, like horoscopes or games can come with a hidden cost, so be careful of what you download to your phone.

  

Big Picture

When you look at a recent study released by Appthority, it’s not only malicious apps that can send your data out to prying eyes. It discovered that “96% of iOS apps and 84% of Android apps have the capability to access sensitive information on a smartphone, such as contacts, location, and calendar information.”

Read the full report.

The answer isn’t locking down the world; there are some simple ways to protect your mobile device.

 

1. Don’t click on web links from text messages that ask for logins, banking details or other sensitive information.

2. Be careful of the app you download. Do your “due diligence” and research the app before you download it.

3. Use an ounce of prevention by using a trusted source of security software.

 



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Marc Arellano

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Marc Arellano teaches communication at Okanagan College in British Columbia, Canada. He has worked as a technical writer, editor and copy writer.His current academic interests focus on computer-mediated communication and the effects of new media on culture.

Marc Arellano enseigne les communications au Collège de l'Okanagan en Colombie-Britannique. Il a travaillé en tant que rédacteur, éditeur et concepteur-rédacteur. Ses intérêts académiques actuels mettent l'emphase sur la communication au moyen d'un ordinateur et sur l'effet des nouveaux médias sur la culture.


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