Scam of the day – March 15, 2014 – Smart phone hacking

Hacking into smart phones is on the rise, particularly in regard to mobile banking apps.  It is estimated by Kaspersky Labs, a security company that the number of attempted hacking attempts went up from 40,059 examples of malicious code in 2012 to almost 100,000 examples of malicious code created to steal smart phone data with almost 98% of this malicious code aimed at Android devices.  Android is the most prominent mobile operating system in the world and is used to power some of the most popular smart phones such as the Samsung Galaxy.  Anything popular with many people is also popular with identity thieves who look for where the most potential victims are and then focus their efforts on exploiting vulnerabilities in popular software systems.  It is for this reason that I have continually warned you about the dangers you confront using Android products in many previous Scams of the day which you can read in the Scamicide archives.

Part of the problem with Android systems are that older smartphones are not equipped to operate the latest versions of the Android system which have incorporated numerous security updates.  A particular area of vulnerability in smart phones is malicious apps.  Malicious apps that you unwittingly download may include keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information from your smartphone and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.  As more and more people are using their smart phones for banking, hacking into banking apps with malware is becoming a major problem as identity thieves use this tainted apps to gain access to their victims’ bank accounts.

TIPS

One thing you should do to protect yourself is to limit your downloading of apps to well known, legitimate vendors such as Google Play.  Google scans all apps before it adds them to the Google Play store to make sure that they are not infected with malware.  Also, as I have advised you in the past, you should also protect your smart phone with a strong password, install security software, encryption software and include anti malware such as the app Lookout, which for $29.99  per year has a feature that continually scans your other apps for viruses and malware as well as also permitting you to lock your phone remotely or eliminate all of your stored data if your smartphone is lost or stolen.