As our cell phones become capable of doing so much more then just making phone calls, such as downloading applications, shopping online, and even managing our bank accounts, hackers look to them more and more as a system to exploit. This is not just something we have to worry about having in the future, but this is something cell phone users need to be concerned about right now.
Russian antivirus company, Kaspersky Lab, has found a new malicious program that has already been used to part phone users from their money. This program works by hijacking Nokia phones and making small charges to the owner’s wireless account, and then sending that money to the account of the hacker.
In yet another similar incident that happened last month, an Australian student created and spread a virus on jailbroken iPhones. This virus wasn’t really harmful as it only changed the background image on the iPhone, but its purpose was to show the vulnerability of smartphones.
“The tipping point will be when we’re using the phone to shop and conduct banking,” Mr. Moss, a security expert and organizer of the Black Hat conference said. “The more you do with the phone, the more valuable a target it becomes.”
With the overwhelming amount of mobile malware popping up, a new company called Lookout has started up. Right now Lookout is testing security software for phones running Windows Mobile, and the Android operating system, and they will soon be introducing security applications for the iPhone and BlackBerry. The software will protect phones from rogue programs and it will allow the phone’s owners to remotely back up and erase data on their phones in case a phone is stolen. A user will also be able to track their phones on the web using the phone’s built-in GPS.
Lookout has been working hard to bring to the public’s attention to focus on just how vulnerable people’s cellphones really are. One of the ways they have succeeded in doing this recently, was by camping outside the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, and scanning the phones of the stars walking the red carpet by using a short range Bluetooth wireless connection. They found that as many as 100 of the stars’ phones were vulnerable to hacking over such a connection, effectively proving us just how vulnerable these phones really are.