Smartphones and mobile devices are becoming a tempting target for hackers. And not the good hackers (developers who “hack” constructive things like data sets and platforms), but malicious hackers — the ones who produce malware, steal information and harm your computer. Or, increasingly, your mobile device.
A Mobile Threats Report from the Juniper Networks revealed that the amount of malware created for mobile devices across all operating systems more than doubled in 2011. Most of it was spyware — the stuff that steals your information. More than 63 percent of the malware found could track a phone’s location and collect financial information.
Last August, The New York Times reported that Android is the number one operating system targeted by hackers, mostly because Google does not use a vetting process to monitor new mobile apps. Apple demands that each app in the app store be approved, so it’s more secure, though not perfect.
And apps aren’t the only way hackers can target your mobile device. Dangerous Trojans can be sent via text message. Juniper reported that 36 percent of malware found were Trojans sent via SMS. And ambitious hackers can create QR codes that lead to infected mobile sites.
To protect yourself, be sure to download apps only if you know they are legitimate, and do your research. Check out these tips from PCWorld to avoid infected apps. Also, be careful to scan only QR codes from a source you trust. And if you’re building QR code campaigns, make sure to indicate where the QR code will take a user once they’ve scanned it.