Smartphone Cyber Attacks to Grow this Year with the Introduction of Ransomware

Every year a prediction is made that the rise of cyber-attacks on smartphones will increase. It’s yet to happen but that’s not to say it won’t and some of the bigger security firms are saying that it will be this year – 2013. Why are smartphones so vulnerable to attack though ?

See this media coverage by CNN Money :

There are several reasons for this. First, most smart phone users have the same software on their desktops as well as their phones. These devices all connect to each other, and a variety of others via Bluetooth, leaving the door wide open for an attack.

How many people use their mobile device as a digital wallet ?  Juniper Networks have provided research that says there will be 300 million devices with and NFC chip – required to turn the device into a mobile wallet – and that this year alone will see transactions worth $50 billion.  Although NFC itself is secure, the devices it’s on probably aren’t as closed down as they should be.

Another method that is likely to be this year’s biggest problem is Ransomware.  This is the takeover of the device and its data by a 3rd party using malware who will only release it on receipt of a cash payment.

To date most of the malware infections have been on Android devices but iPhone users should not rest on their laurels. Although Apple don’t allow much in the way of software communication with 3rd party apps this just serves to reduce the protection that anti-virus apps can provide. This could lead to iOS devices becoming the target for hacking.

The biggest factor in security is carelessness. Users should ensure that their devices are safe and protected with passwords. Installing anti-theft software will help as will making sure not to install from suspicious sites. The best defence against hacking is not to let it happen in the first place.