SMARTPHONE SECURITY: Increase in mobile exploits seen - KMSP-TV

SMARTPHONE SECURITY: Increase in mobile exploits seen

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When the Internet became a part of daily life, dealing with computer viruses did too. Now, there is growing concern that smartphones and tablets could be the next target for malware.

FOX 9 News spoke with Jake Dewoskin to get more information about smartphone security after learning that 80 percent of devices do not have malware protection.

Q: Hackers are seeing dollar signs right now. They know that hundreds and millions of phones are unprotected, so why haven't we seen any big virus outbreaks on tablets or smartphones yet?

A: Whenever you see a proliferation of devices like this, the target increases for sure. So, you're seeing hackers. You're seeing people that are looking for information off these devices. The reason you haven't seen a massive outbreak is that you've got a lot of discrepancy. When you look at the Android market, when you look at the different operating systems on these devices, they're not as standardized as, say, a Microsoft platform. So, it's a little more difficult to come up with exploits; however, there is certainly a good percentage of exploits out there available that we are seeing -- increases in exploits for mobile devices.

Q: Do Android and Apple iOS devices have solid security systems, or should people be looking into buying other programs that can secure their phone even better?

A: That's a good question. The operating systems themselves are reasonably secure. There really are a couple of important considerations. One is certainly looking at what you can add to your device to increase security -- things like virus and malware protection. Most Android devices come with a look-out, which is an anti-virus client that you can activate and utilize.

The big concern is when you're mobile, when you're out there connecting to foreign wireless networks, there are a lot of things to look for before you make a decision as to what you want to do with that device.

Q: The bad guys -- what are they looking to do with the malware? Is their endgame to get the information or do they just want to wreak havoc and make your device useless?

A: A dead or "bricked" cell phone or mobile device isn't very useful to a would-be hacker, so they're looking to -- as unobtrusively as possible -- get information off the device, whether it's simply for the purposes of target marketing or getting personal information about you -- social media credentials, e-mail credentials, certainly online banking and other banking app credentials.

Q: What should people be looking for? Are there specific red flags?

A: Absolutely. If the phone doesn't seem to be performing well, if it's extremely slow. Certainly, if you notice on your monthly invoices or bills that you've got excessively high data usage, your phone may be transmitting information without your awareness.

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