Smartphones are more ‘prone to cyber attacks'

L.N. Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on November 12, 2017

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There appears to be a whopping increase in malware attacks, targeted mostly at Android smartphones. Heavy users of such hi-tech devices, therefore, stay cautioned as the popularity of Web browsing via smartphones has created an opportunity for cyber criminals to expand their target base.

“Don't panic though, if your phone gets infected. Just remove the malicious application and scan your computer with security software if the two devices are often connected. Most importantly, change your online accounts passwords,” suggests Trend Micro's Country Manager for India and SAARC Mr Amit Nath.

“By adopting some best practices such as downloading apps from trusted sites, secured browsing practices, utilising built-in security features of phone and installing security software offered by security providers, users of such devices would be able to stall malware infection,” he added.

The cyber security major has noticed a fourteen-fold increase in malware attacks targeting Android smartphone users in the last six months.

Security threats

Owing to their portability and advanced computing features coupled with the prospect of staying connected anywhere and anytime, smartphones are becoming popular devices among consumers. However, these gadgets are susceptible to various security threats regardless of the operating system (Android, iOS, Symbian or BlackBerry OS) they are running, say experts.

Mr Nath said the threats include worms and spyware that track users' Web activity and location, make charges via SMS messages, and more.

He said that in the past year TrendLabs has seen cases of mobile malware infection and exploitation plague users straight from the shelf.

“Vodafone for instance was blamed for shipping 3,000 worm-laden HTC Android smartphones. At Trend Micro, we believe that it was an infected computer in the production line that caused the problem. Samsung also inadvertently distributed malware along with its new S8500 Wave smartphone. The worm, detected as WORM_AUTORUN. WAV, attempted to infect a user's PC when the phone was connected to it,” said Mr Nath.

Growing sales

IMS Research has predicted that the sales of smartphones would exceed 420 million (devices) by this year-end, accounting for 28 per cent of the entire global handset market. The annual sales are expected to surpass one billion devices by the end of 2016, accounting for one of every two mobile handsets sold.

A report by the Wireless Federation shows that the Asia-Pacific smartphone market would grow at a compounded annual rate of 12.5 per cent, possibly doubling to 200 million by 2016.

“Unfortunately, most mobile users are unconcerned about installing the mobile security software. This lack of vigilance among users makes them vulnerable to the Web threats,” Mr Nath said

Published on August 30, 2011

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