Hackers now targeting smart phones

The vast majority of malware attacks still transpire on PCs. But cybercriminals are increasingly turning their focus on smartphones. And no wonder: Smart phones are becoming miniature computers. Many people use smart phones to surf the Web, read e-mail messages and transfer funds to our banks. These products, then, are ripe for attack. Fortunately, you have steps you can take to secure your smart phone from hackers.

Scary Numbers

David Goldman, a writer with CNN Money, recently uncovered some shocking statistics regarding mobile malware. Reported by Goldman, Lookout Security recently discovered that one out of every four smartphone users either clicked or swiped a suspicious Web link. Goldman also reported numbers from McAfee showing that mobile malware attacks during the last year have jumped by a factor of six. Plus there is the report from security firm F-Secure that Android malware attacks quadrupled from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012.

The Good News

Smart phone users, though, shouldn’t panic. Malware attacks against mobile devices remain relatively rare. That is especially so when in comparison to the number of threats levied against PCs. For example, Goldman writes that McAfee as of mid-2012 had identified about 13,000 types of mobile malware. That’s significant. However the company also had detected upwards of 90 million forms of malware aimed instead at PCs. That’s really a staggering number. Why have cyber criminals been so focused on PCs? They have been successful. They don’t have an serious incentive to take their malware to smartphones since they are already swindling so much money away from PC users. But as Goldman writes, that will undoubtedly change.

Protect Yourself

You can protect your phone from mobile malware attacks. Start by installing anti-virus software from reputable companies. Be cautious, though–cyber criminals could create bogus anti-virus software that won’t protect your phone but instead sends these criminals your personal information. Also, be sure to research any app before you decide to download it. You need to be sure that it is provided by a reputable company. Finally, be just as cautious about phishing schemes as you should be while sitting in front of your computer. Never provide your Social Security Number, checking account numbers or any other information in an e-mail. Your bank will never request such numbers in e-mail.

Posted on: 01.25.13