Pro­tect your mo­bile, pro­tect your­self.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

WE pro­tect our homes with keys, our cars with alarms, our bank­ing with PINs and our com­put­ers with virus pro­tec­tion. So, why do we leave our mo­bile phones open and ex­posed?

Be­cause we haven’t had cause for alarm. Yet. Mo­bile phones are the new fron­tier for cy­ber crim­i­nals, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search from McAfee Se­cu­rity.

But phone viruses have been around since 2005, when the Nokia Sym­bian Se­ries 60 mes­sag­ing sys­tem be­came a wide­spread SMS-for­ward­ing virus vic­tim, util­is­ing the user’s ad­dress book to spread the link to all con­tacts. Blue­tooth tech­nol­ogy was soon ex­ploited as a virus-spread­ing tool with 2005’ s Cabir virus, which used a phone’s Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­i­ties to seek out other phones nearby and dis­trib­ute it­self, dis­guised as a se­cu­rity scan.

More re­cently, smart­phone viruses have been em­ployed to hi­jack a user’s Face­book pass­word and up­date their sta­tus with spam links. As mo­bile tech­nol­ogy has de­vel­oped, so too have se­cu­rity flaws. Smart­phones are now prey for Trojans just like com­put­ers are – pro­grams pre­tend­ing to be some­thing else, like a free app or game, which tricks the user into in­stalling it.

An­other dan­ger is data-har­vest­ing mal­ware that can be down­loaded and in­stalled with­out be­ing no­ticed.

The prob­lem is that most smart­phone users for­get that their handy mo­bile gad­get is a com­puter, and they take many risks that they wouldn’t on a com­puter, like down­load­ing free soft­ware ( apps) from un­known pub­lish­ers.

Free apps are tan­ta­lis­ing and there are a lot of them. To be safer, be­fore you hit ‘‘ down­load’’, look at the per­mis­sions that the app asks for very care­fully – and de­cide whether you think the app ac­tu­ally needs them.

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