08 Feb 2011

Smartphone users: Beware of malicious software

According to a network security company, the amount of malicious software in 2010 rose 46 percent, and smartphones will be targeted more in 2011.

With the popularity of smartphones increasing, cyber criminals are targeting the Google Android operating system and Apple iPhone more frequently. Computer virus writers are targeting these devices to steal money and personal data from users.

One threat discovered last year affected the Android OS by using a security vulnerability to take control of the device, and send premium rate text messages. The number for the text messages was set up by malware developers, which netted them the profits.

These security vulnerabilities also allow hackers to spy on smartphone users, record calls and text messages and steal personal and banking information.

"Cyber criminals are keeping tabs on what's popular and what will have the biggest impact from the smallest effort," said senior vice president of the internet security company Vincent Weafer.

The company’s research found that spam represented 80 percent of email traffic last year - its lowest level since 2007. The low number of spam was attributed to an unusual dormant period for major botnets.