Get Safe Online warns of mobile threat

Despite no financially significant attacks to date, Get Safe Online warns users about mobile hackers.

Mobile security

The mobile threat is real and companies as well as citizens need to get protected, according to a web security campaign launched today.

As more people use their smartphones for transactions and hosting valuable data, cyber criminals are increasingly looking to attack the devices, the Get Safe Online team warned.

Research from the campaign found 17 per cent of smartphone owners were using their mobile device for "money matters."

The volume of mobile malware has not yet reached the epidemic proportions of computer-based malware.

"While accessing the web via a mobile device can be fun and save time, it's important to be vigilant," said minister for cyber security Francis Maude.

"This week, we are encouraging everyone to take a few moments to visit www.getsafeonline.org and make sure they follow the right advice for using mobile devices securely and safely."

One of the main tricks mobile attackers are using is placing malicious apps on popular app stores, as seen with the DroidDream outbreak earlier this year when numerous dirty applications were found on the Android Market.

Many such apps look to force users into texting premium rate numbers, thereby handing money over to cyber criminals.

"With users now installing and removing apps with increasing frequency, this overall volumemeans the chance of encountering a rogue app is now higher than ever before," said Trend Micro's director of security research and communication Rik Ferguson, writing in the Get Safe Online report.

"The volume of mobile malware has not yet reached the epidemic proportions of computer-based malware, but criminal interest is clearly there and growing."

It's kind of a big deal

Despite widespread concerns about the mobile threat, there have been no significant attacks in which large sums of money have been stolen from smartphones.

In the whole of 2010, Kaspersky only spotted around 135 different species of mobile malware, compared to the vast number of PC-focused malicious software.

However, there is a consensus across the industry that mobile security is something businesses should worry about. Recent figures from G Data showed mobile malware spiked 273 per cent in the first half of 2011, compared with the same period in 2010.

"The mobile threat is a real thing as we are increasingly using mobiles for banking and social media," Bob Tarzey, security analyst at Quocirca, told IT Pro.

Tarzey suggested many of the attacks would focus on Android, the most popular mobile OS in the world and one of the easiest to develop for.

For businesses, the analyst recommended taking the half glass empty approach. "The rule of thumb is to assume the device is going to be compromised and work from that principle," Tarzey added.

"It's all quite manageable."

Read on for our feature on why it's time to worry about mobile security.

Featured Resources

How to scale your organisation in the cloud

How to overcome common scaling challenges and choose the right scalable cloud service

Download now

The people factor: A critical ingredient for intelligent communications

How to improve communication within your business

Download now

Future of video conferencing

Optimising video conferencing features to achieve business goals

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Recommended

Microsoft Exchange targeted by China-linked hackers
zero-day exploit

Microsoft Exchange targeted by China-linked hackers

3 Mar 2021
Malicious ‘dependency confusion’ packages are stealing password files
hacking

Malicious ‘dependency confusion’ packages are stealing password files

2 Mar 2021
What is the Computer Misuse Act?
Policy & legislation

What is the Computer Misuse Act?

2 Mar 2021
AOL users are the target of a new phishing campaign
phishing

AOL users are the target of a new phishing campaign

1 Mar 2021

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

26 Feb 2021
How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop
Laptops

How to connect one, two or more monitors to your laptop

25 Feb 2021
Ransomware operators are exploiting VMware ESXi flaws
ransomware

Ransomware operators are exploiting VMware ESXi flaws

1 Mar 2021