Malware Threatens Your Smartphone


As mobile devices, and particularly smartphones, have proliferated in the last year, so have the ways in which cyber criminals can target you with malware. In fact, 2010 saw the highest number of mobile malware infections aimed at smartphone users.

According to AdaptiveMobile,, compared with 2009, 2010 instances were up by 33%. AdaptiveMobile also says malware engineered specifically for the Android platform saw the most dramatic rise. However, even with four times as many “exploits” in 2010 than in 2009, the total number is still low when compared to other platforms.

The report says smartphones running Java-based applications saw a 45% increase when compared to 2009, though exploits aimed at iPhones actually declined.

It is likely that cyber criminals’ focus on Android reflects the rapid marketshare gain the platform has recently experienced. AdaptiveMobile says malware creators seem to shift their focus toward technologies and platforms that are experiencing widespread adoption or are poised for growth.

While many consumers are cognizant of computer viruses and the various ways in which their PCs can become infected, they are not as educated about the security risks posed by their connected devices. Without question, malware puts technology users at risk for losing data, privacy breaches, and even monetary costs by disabling devices that require pricey repairs.

The rate of smartphone adoption will not slow. Therefore, it is likely the number of threats targeted at mobile-device users also will continue to increase in 2011. Unfortunately, the company says cyber criminals’ threats will most likely become more sophisticated in the years ahead.

The best advice for consumers worried about securing their mobile device is to use common sense. Choose devices and wireless providers you are comfortable with, be mindful of the third-party apps you choose to download, and enter personal information only when a site is securely encrypted.

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