Smartphone Security: Alarming Complacency Among Mobile Users
Most consumers are unaware of the security risks associated with their smartphones.
Last week, I wrote about how mobile devices are being released with security flaws. The news crossing my desk today put an exclamation point on why smartphone security has to be a priority at every level - from manufacturing to security software development to smart security policies among users:
Hackers are salivating over the chance to attack your phone.
The Associated Press is calling the smartphone the "new frontier for hackers." If you've read my blog long enough, you know that I've been talking about this happening for a long time. But it seems like the news is coming out fast and furious lately. Researchers found a hole in iOS. And now there is (yet another) report of malware aimed at Android, this new strain aimed at not only logging the details of incoming and outgoing calls, but also recording them.
It's easy to see the attraction hackers have to smartphones: More of us are using them, and we're using them for virtually every facet of our lives. I admit, I always cringe a little when I see those commercials that show how easy it is to take a picture of a check and instantly deposit it to your bank account.
The AP story pointed to the "evidence of the hacker invasion":
Lookout says it now detects thousands of attempted infections each day on mobile phones running its security software. In January, there were just a few hundred detections a day. The number of detections is nearly doubling every few months. As many as 1 million people were hit by mobile malware in the first half of 2011.
Symantec Corp., the world's biggest security software maker, is also seeing a jump. Last year, the company identified just five examples of malware unique to Android. So far this year, it's seen 19. Of course, that number pales compared with the hundreds of thousands of new strains targeting PCs every year, but experts say it's only a matter of time before criminals catch up.
The folks at KoolSpan provided a few tips to know whether or not your phone has been hacked. They include battery life dying more quickly, applications that restart after logging off and the network running slowly. KoolSpan added that if these things are happening and you think you may have been compromised, it's a good idea to return the phone to its original settings.
It's also now more important than ever to make sure your phone has good security software on it. There are some good solutions out there for Android and more companies are developing security apps for iOS. For example, McAfee just announced it has created a new app for iPhones that will focus on protection against data and device loss.
As smartphone use increases - and add into that the rise of tablets - hackers will be working overtime. Using smartphones smartly is the first line in thwarting their efforts.