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Watch for New Attacks Aimed at Mobile Devices

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A mobile device is an indispensable extension of your life, containing some of your most private conversations and confidential information. It's your phone book, email, photo album, social life, and even your wallet, all rolled into one device. Chances are if you own a smartphone or tablet, it is connected to your money or financial accounts. For many, it's like a right hand (or in my case, left hand), so it's essential to secure your device and the information it holds.

The phone is moving in to replace the PC for the next generation. Carriers are increasing network speeds, cutting download time in half, and new phones have capacities of up to 64 GB ¾ that's more hard drive space than my three-year-old laptop.

Software application developers are responding to this shift by focusing primarily on mobile devices, with PCs demoted to a secondary consideration. And as with any major transition to a new technology, the uncertainty and newness fosters a perfect opportunity for scammers to launch attacks.

In McAfee Labs' report, "Securing Mobile Devices: Present and Future," Dr. Igor Muttik states:

"Despite steady progress in securing desktop computers -- using safer hardware, operating systems, and applications -- malware is not going extinct. With today's explosive proliferation of smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices, we have to wonder whether our pocket devices can also be secured. We might assume from our extensive knowledge in protecting desktop computers that the new wave of mobile hardware should be relatively secure because we shall benefit from the lessons we have already learned."

But so far, many have neglected to consider the security of their mobile devices.

As new tablets and smartphones are released, along with thousands of new mobile applications, hackers are working to create bugs and viruses that modify the legitimate software industry's processes. The burgeoning ubiquity of these mobile devices offers criminals the same sorts of possibilities today that they found in PCs several years ago.

Only download mobile payment applications from a reputable app store. Check user reviews of the app and make sure to read to app's privacy policy on what data of yours it is accessing and sharing.

Don't do any mobile transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi connection. It's much more secure to use your mobile data network.

Keep your mobile software current. This includes the latest updates for your operating system, mobile browser and mobile security software

Robert Siciliano is personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures here.

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