Smartphones are amazing devices that allow a business to be more productive and lets the personal user have access to information, games, social networking sites, and more at their fingertips.  It’s like having a computer in your pocket.  Cell providers are watching more people switch to the smartphone for personal use and business.  But they are not the only ones keeping an eye on this trend.

Cyber criminals are increasing the sophistication and frequency of attacks on business and government networks, including a shift in focus to mobile devices.  Attackers have been waiting for the time when creating malware for smartphones would pay off – and that time is now.

In March , Android phones were victim to the largest attack ever on their software.  An application that had a Trojan hiding in it was downloaded more than 50,000 times from the market.  The Trojan would steal personal information from the phone as well as download and install other application without the user knowing.

Google was able to remove the apps from the market and from user’s phones, but what damage had already been done during those few days the malware was running rampant? What information was taken?

The first malware app for the iPhone was discovered in early 2008 and they are only getting more and more sophisticated.  But its not just apps from the market or store that one needs to be aware of.  Attackers are targeting smartphone user’s computers too.  When the Twitter app was released for the iPhone, attackers set up websites claiming to have the app for download.  When a user clicked on the links to get their iPhone app, their computer was infected with malware that steals bank accounts and other personal information.

Utilizing social networks, app stores, markets, and advertising, smartphone users are getting hit from all directions.

So, if a business or a home user is willing to put security software on their computers, why not their mobile devices?  There are plenty of free security applications for smartphones that will scan any new application to ensure it is clean.  A simple app can help reduce the risk of infection dramatically.

For businesses, its not just the user of the mobile device that is at risk.  What other information is on that phone?  Sensitive company information?  Customer or employee information?  Educating employees and setting up mobile security policies are imperative for a business.  Smartphones act as a computer, so it’s time to start treating them like computers.

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