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24-12-2012

Mobile Application Security: How to Respond to the Latest Threats

Initially, smart phones were exposed to very few security risks; none of which became a long-term, widespread issue for consumers

Even today, the quantity of viruses made to target mobile devices is relatively small when compared to those aimed at PC software. However, the number of malicious codes and threats has increased exponentially since the year 2010.

By the very next year, reports of harmful malware within mobile platform applications surged by nearly twice the amount, at a staggering 93.3% growth. This astonishing escalation can only be expected to rise. It is mostly due to cellular phone owners using their devices for transactions requiring personal, confidential information, such as banking and online shopping.

Types of Security Threats to Mobile Devices

Various viruses pose different risks to a phone, namely:

·       Collects service information - One of the more common hazards amongst corrupt mobile apps, it collects data relevant to the device’s functionality. This includes the operating system, IMEI, IMSI and configuration settings. It was generally executed in order to accomplish additional malicious activities.

·       Spies on user activity - Used to keep track of the phone owner’s actions, it amasses data such as text messages, pictures taken, phone logs and even GPS coordinates, effectively recording where the user is at any given point during the day. This collective archive is then sent to a remote source.

·       Sends content - The intent of this threat is more direct, and can end up being very expensive. The malware sends out SMSs to premium-rate numbers, billing any charges straight to the mobile account.

·       Downloads further viruses - The downloader is capable of downloading more threats onto the mobile platform.

·       Alters phone settings - This risk is made to create phone vulnerability by changing settings and configuration, in order to perform extra malicious activity with increased ease.

·       Spam - This is made to send spam SMSs and e-mail to all listed numbers and addresses. Whilst not expensive, or debilitating to the mobile device, this malware can be highly annoying; especially on a phone used for business.

·       Banking Trojan - A high risk, monitoring software which keeps track of all banking transactions. The Banking Trojan gathers all pertinent details to a bank account, which can be later utilised for additional unpleasant deeds.

·       SEO poisoning - The SEO poisoning malware is designed to frequently send out the phone’s browser to pre-programmed URLs, in order for these sites to have a rise in overall search rankings.

 

Your phone is also at risk against physical intrusions, such as:

1. Theft or misplacement - Losing a phone to pick pocketing, stealing, or merely forgetting it somewhere is a constant problem for many phone owners.

2. Invasion of privacy - If ever a mobile device is left unattended; there is a risk of having its contents examined. Many people require protection against this.

 

How a Mobile Security Company Can Help Protect You Against These Threats

By investing in a mobile security company, phone users can protect themselves against most threatening viruses and malware picked up from the internet. Services and software are designed in numerous ways. Some are built directly into the mobile device when you buy it, such as default auto-lock and password protection.

Security companies offer a variety of safeguarding services to combat the risks phones are prone to. They can provide advanced encryption standards and password defining and support in order to protect all transmissions, and data, including the information kept on storage cards. Services can also afford users the ability to remotely eradicate all mobile archives should the device get lost or stolen.

Companies also provide you with numerous anti-virus software programs, which can be controlled remotely, along with Bluetooth, infrared and cameras. As an added bonus, the firewall can be analysed for discrepancies, and reinforced for added internet safeguarding.

 

Lara Gibb - Staff Writer