Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Smartphones under growing threat from hackers

BARCELONA, Spain — Smartphones are under a growing menace from cyber-criminals seeking to hack into web-connected handsets, but the mobile industry has contained the threat so far, security experts said.

Software security firms warned at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that the increasingly popular smartphones could face an explosion of virus attacks in the coming years.

"Tomorrow we could see a worm on phones which would go around the world in five minutes," said Mikko Hyppoenen, chief research officer at F-Secure, which makes anti-virus software for mobile phones.

"It could have happened already. It hasn't, but it could happen. And I do think that sooner or later it will happen, but when? Well that I cannot tell you," he told AFP.

But security companies, mobile operators and makers of operating systems have found solutions to limit the attacks so far and delay an onslaught of spam and viruses, he said.

"It won't work forever, eventually we will see the first global outbreak. But we have been able to delay it by more than five years, at least," he said.

The first mobile virus appeared six years ago, and so far F-Secure has detected only 430 mobile worms. This compares to millions of computer viruses.

Much like the first computer hackers of two decades ago, the people attacking mobile phones have been doing it as a hobby, Hyppoenen said.

"It seems that on any new platform, the first years, the first viruses are done by hobbyists just to show off and then later more professional money-making criminals move in," he said.

One of the first viruses was called Skulls. Spreading through wireless bluetooth systems, a skull would appear on a phone's screen and delete all its data, Hyppoenen said.

The few money-making "trojan" viruses that have been seen infiltrate a person's phone and send text messages to premium numbers controlled by the hacker, he said.


Security companies have developped anti-spam and anti-virus software for mobile phones as well as anti-theft features that allow a phone's owner to remotely block the device and even map its location.


But smartphones, with their email and Internet capabilities, will invite more break-ins, especially with the growth of mobile banking -- financial transactions that can be done through applications, experts said.

Security companies have developped anti-spam and anti-virus software for mobile phones as well as anti-theft features that allow a phone's owner to remotely block the device and even map its location.

But smartphones, with their email and Internet capabilities, will invite more break-ins, especially with the growth of mobile banking -- financial transactions that can be done through applications, experts said. afp

2 comments:

  1. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia
    thank you

    ReplyDelete