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Get Safe Online warns of spike in mobile malware threats

07 Nov 2011

Get Safe Online Week kicks off on Monday with a new message for the Great British Public: beware of mobile phone malware. 

The awareness-raising organisation has been educating citizens for over five years and, under the leadership of former National Hi-Tech Crime Unit spokesperson Tony Neate, looks to Get Safe Online Week each year to focus attention on a growing threat.

Last year, for example, it was scareware, with a warning that a quarter of British web users had been tricked into buying fake anti-virus software at some point.

This year, Get Safe Online, now part of the Cabinet Office, quoted Trend Micro Threat Spotlight figures which put the growth in mobile malware at an astonishing 800 per cent in just four months.

A favourite way to make money out of mobile malware is the premium rate dialler route, where the Trojan malware in question makes repeated calls or sends text messages to the cyber criminals' premium rate number.

In the case of the SMS version, the malware is also able to hide any balance update confirmation messages, making it harder for people to spot that anything is wrong until they receive their bill.

This kind of malware is growing in popularity, and is especially prevalent, but not exclusively so, in app stores in China and eastern Europe.

The important points for consumers to note is that they should never go to a non-official app store to download apps, especially if they see a well-known app available for free.

Anti-malware software would also help to protect devices such as smartphones and tablets.

A point of interest for IT managers here is the growing bring-your-own-device trend in the workplace. If consumer devices are to be supported, strict rules governing application downloads and anti-virus software must be enforced to protect sensitive data.

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Phil Muncaster
About

Phil Muncaster is news editor at V3.co.uk, a role he has fulfilled since January 2010. Previously he was chief reporter for IT Week, having also worked as a reporter and senior reporter on the publication from 2005.

Before IT Week, Phil worked as a researcher for the Rough Guide. Prior to his work in journalism, Phil spent three years teaching English in Japan.

 

 

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