Malware a threat to smartphones

They are equal, if not bigger, threat to your smartphone too. With smartphones such as Blackberry, iPhone and Palm becoming a common gadget, the world of hackers and virus makers have expanded as they prey on unsuspecting victims.

These malware or malicious programs are widening their reach, thanks to the ignorance of users, that they could easily affect smartphones, as a recent survey by leading security firm, Trend Micro, has found.

According to the survey, only 23 per cent of smartphone users have security software loaded in their phones.

On the other hand, 44 per cent of users think surfing the net on phone is as safe or safer than doing so on a desktop computer even with no security software.

A recent study by leading research firm, Gartner, said over 139 million smartphones were sold worldwide last year, which was an increase of 13.9 per cent from 2007. Also, an increasing number of smartphones are used to surf the web, besides paying bills and carrying out other activities that make them increasingly vulnerable to viruses.

According to industry analysts, all major online threats have also spread to smart phones, often through e-mail attachments.

Trend Micro experts, company sources said, recently discovered what they believe to be the first ‘Botnet’ (Botnet is a jargon used for a collection of ‘software robots’, or ‘bots’ that run automatically and is often associated with malicious software) for mobile devices, enlarging the ambit of threat to cellphones even more.

Botnet is a Symbian-based malware, which collects phone and subscriber ID as well as network information on affected devices, and connects to a website to send the information.

The advanced technology used by such malware can be gauged by the fact that in one instance, tracked by security analysts, a Bluetooth headset was used to attack other Bluetooth users within 20 feet distance of the infected unit.

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