If you though that smartphones were immune to viruses and malware, think again – especially if you use an Android device. According to new research from the EU IT’s security network, smartphones are the new targets of cyber crimminals. There was a 33% increase in smartphone malware this year, and this number is only going to continue to grow. According to Adaptive Mobile COO Gareth Maclachlan:
With the increasing pervasiveness of Smartphone devices, 2010 has undoubtedly been the year that fraudsters have truly turned their attention to mobile platforms. The vast majority of consumers are acutely aware of the threats that PC-based viruses, spam messages and phishing emails pose, but many are still unaware of the risks associated with their mobile devices.
The report says that the biggest phones at risk are those that run on Java, whose less sophisticated design is easier to crack than the iPhone or an Android. Malware reports on these phones increased to 45% this year. Android is another prime target because any developer can put up whatever application it wants on the Android market. These malicious apps not only steal sensitive user data; they allow the remote execution of the device. The amount of malware on Nokia’s operating system Symbian dropped to 11%, which suggests that Symbian devices are becoming less relevant as hackers work on operating systems with more victims.
Another smartphone risk stated by the report is information leakage via GPS data attached to photos, which can be used to trace users and make it easier to stalk, rob, or hijack them.
So be careful about what you download onto your smartphone, the sensitive information you keep in there, and the data you send out.