Mobile phones, specifically smartphones, are becoming an increasingly attractive target for nefarious hackers, and in 2012 the number of incidents of mobile-based malware is expected to skyrocket, say according to mobile security vendors and analysts.
“2011 was a watershed year in terms of the types of threats we saw emerging. Threats had greater sophistication and were deployed using more innovative and efficient distribution methods,” said Kevin Mahaffey of mobile security company Lookout. In 2012, the company predicts that some of the biggest mobile malware monetisation trends will be mobile pickpocketing (SMS/call fraud), botnets and vulnerable phones. Cyber criminals will also attempt to distribute malware using automated repackaging, browser attacks and malvertising.
In November, market researcher Juniper found that Android malware samples had increased by 472% since July 2011 and predicted that “Android will remain the target of mobile malware writers around the world.”
Security company Websense forecasts that there would be more than 1000+ different mobile device attacks on smartphones and tablets in 2012.
In a post on Google+, Google Open Source Programs manager Chris DiBona writes that “No major cell phone has a ‘virus’ problem in the traditional sense that windows and some mac machines have seen.”
However, if you are concerned about security on your mobile phone, some of the best ways to be safe are to lock your phone with a password when it is not in use, be careful what you click on, and download applications from official app stores. Google offers some additional mobile security tips on its online safety site.