Cybercriminals Focusing on Mobile Platforms

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If I were to tell you four years ago that cybercriminals were going to focus on mobile phones instead of computers would you believe me? This shift in focusing on mobile devices and platforms instead of computers means one thing, it’s easier. What does that mean? Well think of it this way if I was hacker wanting to gain access to somebody’s personal information, and I had a choice between their computer or their mobile phone which one would I choose?  Now before I give my answer think of this, computer operating systems like Windows, and Mac have been around for a while so they both have had their share of virus, worms, and trojans especially Windows as it’s a widely and commonly used operating system. Mobile devices like the iPhone, Android and others are relatively new and don’t have much of a security history behind them. Mobile devices especially now can hold a lot of information. Your phone is usually your personal and business phone, all the better to target mobile platforms. So the device I would pick in the end would be the mobile phone. Apple released iOS4 (June 21, 2010) which was said to contain over 60 patches and updates to the device. But one thing that is truly a security threat towards the iPhones, and iPads and other iOS devices is “jailbreaking”. This unlocks the software so the user can download additional applications, extensions and themes that are unavailable through the official App Store (which is software approved by Apple). In the United States jailbreaking is legal and does not violate copyright laws. Since then more than million users have jailbroken their iPhones. (According to Electronic Frontier Foundation) Software that is installed and not approved by Apple could be a security risk by creating the potential of sensitive data leaks, and viruses.  What about Android? One thing that is different from Android is it’s a flexible operating system. Meaning it’s already on smartphones and tablets but plans to have the software in cars, and other devices.  The growth of this open source software and the number of users makes this operating system attractive to developers along with hackers. Since Android is open source unlike Apple people can have access to the source code, including potential attackers. This makes it easier for attackers to put up rouge applications and viruses. One thing you can do to protect yourself is to be aware of the types of apps you download. To me it seems like people think or are simply unaware that viruses and harmful software can be installed on your mobile phone or device, just like if you were on computer. If it’s a third-party application not on the Android or Apple marketplace be especially careful. There is also anti-virus software for your phone if you want another layer of added protection. The last thing is if you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) don’t jailbreak it!  Apple will likely end your user license agreement and you run the risk of viruses, faulty programs and even hardware failures.