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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Security alert: virus threats loom large over hot mobiles

Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 19, 2013
First Published: 23:25 IST(19/5/2013) | Last Updated: 03:17 IST(20/5/2013)

Isha Bhat, a 25-year old bank executive, was elated after buying her first high-end smartphone a month ago. The Rs. 37,500 smartphone, as good as a mini-computer, was a gift Bhat gave herself after receiving an out-of-turn promotion.

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Yet, her euphoria lasted only for a couple of weeks. She discovered that her photographs were stolen after a nasty malware attack on her phone and her e-mail and Facebook accounts were hacked. “I had saved passwords on my mobile device that were stolen by a malicious app that I downloaded on my smartphone,” said Bhat ruefully.

“It never occurred to me that virus attacks could happen on mobile handsets as well.”http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/5/20_05_13-buss21c.gif

Bhat is not alone in her ignorance. Several studies indicate that around 50% mobile handsets users who access Internet on their mobile phones are lax about online security on their smartphones. In fact, over the last one year, close to 72% corporate and individual users faced cyber attacks on their Internet-enabled phones, ranging from malware attacks to hacking and data theft, says research by cyber security firms, which, of course, sell anti-malware solutions.

“Cyber criminals have been evolving their techniques over the last eighteen months to attack smartphone users. And, during recent times, this has led to a massive growth of malware attacks on these devices,” said David Hall, senior manager, consumer products, Asia-Pacific, at cyber security firm Norton.

“Mobile threats have been skyrocketing since the beginning of 2012,” said Altaf Halde, managing director, South Asia, at Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based security vendor and considered a global authority on hacking.

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