Cybercrims turn to smartphones

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Cybercrims turn to smartphones

Postby sledge » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:16 am

Be on ya Guard
Hackers have begun adapting tried-and-true computer infections to work on internet-enabled smartphones that are all the rage with consumers.

Global smartphone shipments topped 54 million in the first three months of this year, a 57 per cent jump from a year ago, according to research firm IDC.

The cyber-underground took notice.

Download the wrong wallpaper application for your Google Android phone and you could get one that will harvest the phone and voicemail numbers, and data that can be used to disclose your location.

Mobile security firm Lookout discovered 80 such Android web apps in late July, which have since been taken down by Google, said John Hering, Lookout's CEO.

The information was being transmitted to a website based in China.

The wallpapers, showing ponies, basketball scenes and other innocuous images, were downloaded more than a million times.

Hering and other security experts attending the Black Hat and DefCon cybersecurity conferences in Las Vegas recently say such hacks underscore the potential for spreading malicious web apps on Android handsets, iPhones, BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile phones.

"Smartphone usage is going mainstream," Hering said.

"And so the bad guys are looking at web browsing and the downloading of web apps as two primary attack vectors."

In a more pernicious attack, a scammer has pioneered a way to trigger premium-rate phone calls from infected Windows smartphones.

The attack, discovered by Mikko Hyponnen, senior researcher at Finnish antivirus firm F-Secure, begins by spreading infections via a popular 3D game delivered as a web app.

Infected smartphones initiate expensive calls to far-off locales, such as Somalia.

But the calls are cut off before they're answered.

The crook is using a system to collect most of the charge for the call, Hyponnen said.

Hyponnen said smartphone web app infections are rare compared to the deluge of malicious programs to compromise Windows PCs.

"From the criminal's point of view, the low-hanging fruit is elsewhere, so we only have a handful of these problems," Hyponnen said.

The richest target for cybercrooks remains consumer and commercial banking and other accounts that run on Windows XP computers, which remain the most widely used device to access the internet.

There are some 40 million known malicious programs for internet-connected computers verses less than 600 for smartphones, Hyponnen said.

However, as much more secure Windows 7 PCs begin to replace older XP machines and hacking becomes more difficult, cybercriminals inevitably will turn their attention to smartphones and mobile devices like the iPad.

"It will happen sooner or later," Hyponnen said.


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Re: Cybercrims turn to smartphones

Postby jassoncook » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:38 am

Viruses and other malware have long been a threat to computers only. But as smartphones become too smart for their own good, the bad guys are targeting them more and more with viruses.
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