Cyber criminals turning their attention to smart phones

Cyber criminals have long centered on running their hoaxes on PC users. And they’ve been exceedingly successful in stealing personal data and stealing funds from countless computer users. Now these cyber criminals are unleashing their malware attacks on smartphones, tapping into yet another huge potential market of gullible users. This will come as being a shock to nobody. Smart phones are growing in popularity. And many users treat their smart phones as miniature computers. They surf the net, send e-mail messages and bank online using smartphones. Fortunately, you can easily take measures to prevent mobile malware. It mostly requires that you use good sense when navigating the internet through your smart phone.

Scary Numbers

It’s challenging finding data on the frequency of smartphone cyber attacks. But in a recent column, CNN Money writer David Goldman does an excellent job of scaring his readers. For instance, refers to a recent mobile malware hack on Verizon that allowed cyber criminals to steal debit-card numbers. That attack generated a loss of $20 million. That’s just one attack. Goldman cites numbers from Lookout Security that found that four in 10 smartphone users will click or swipe on an unsafe Web link within the next year. He also reported that anti-virus giant McAfee reported that mobile malware attacks have jumped by a factor of six. On the subject of protection, mobile phone users are lax. According to security organization SANS, just one fifth of smartphones are protected by anti-virus software.

The Good News

These numbers shouldn’t cause smartphone users to toss their devices in the river. Regardless of the increase in mobile malware, cyber criminals continue to focusing primarily on PCs. For one reason, it’s easier. Developers learned from their past mistakes, and have made it a lot more tough for cyber criminals to take over smart phones and other mobile devices. On top of that, these criminals are so successful in targeting PC users, they’ve got little financial incentive to concentrate on mobile devices. Consumers, though, shouldn’t rely on this for much longer, Goldman writes. As smartphones will continue to increase in popularity, they will likely see a greater number, and variety, of malware attacks.

Protect Yourself

You can safeguard yourself from mobile malware exactly the same way you can protect yourself from PC-based cyber attacks: Use commonsense.
First, never provide personal data such as your Social Security Number or bank account numbers to companies that request it through e-mail. Your bank will never ask for such personal data within e-mail message. Always be wary when downloading apps. Be sure to review apps before installing them, and steer clear of shopping in unregulated app stores.

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