Mobile security threats rise

Digital crooks are turning to mobile malware, SMS spoofing, and worse as people move toward smartphones and tablets.

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Mobile & Wireless, Mobile Security

But that 31% of users is a worldwide statistic based on interviews with more than 13,000 people in 24 different countries around the globe. Symantec also said it found the highest incidence of cybercrime in countries such as Russia, China, and South Africa where the rate of victimization ranges from 80 to 92%. High incidences of cybercrime in concentrated areas can often skew worldwide results, especially when those areas are highly populous nations such as China and Russia.

Lookout Weighs In

Lookout Mobile Security also recently released its annual mobile security report and noted that toll fraud, where malware secretly contacts high-priced SMS services that slap hidden charges on your mobile bill, is currently the most prevalent type of mobile malware. But this type of activity primarily affects users in Eastern Europe and Russia, the security firm says.

Links to malicious Websites, however, are a concern for mobile device users in the United States. Around four in ten American users are likely to click on an unsafe link, according to Lookout. Malicious links can come from e-mail, social networks, or the SMS-based spam and phishing techniques that Symantec described.

If you're an Android user, you should also be aware that your platform is the most popular target for malware creators, according to a recent report from security firm McAfee. That's hardly a surprise given the open approach Google takes to apps on Google Play as well as the fact that Android is the largest smartphone platform in the world.

One popular trick is to create an app that looks like a more popular program such as Angry Birds and bundle that fake app with malicious software. Lookout in late 2011 uncovered just such a scam in Google Play used for SMS toll fraud; however, that scam affected users in Europe and parts of Western Asia, not North America.

Mobile security threats are apparently on the rise, and this trend is bound to grow as more people turn to using smartphones and tablets in their everyday lives. For now, however, it appears the best approach for North American users to practice mobile security is to be wary of what you download and the links that you click on.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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