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Report: Cell Phones Next Target For Hackers

The first Trojans and viruses for mobile phones appeared several years ago. They were aimed at smartphones, which, at the time, meant Palm OS and Symbian OS. Now that smartphones are more prevalent -- and are capable of doing more damage -- they are juicier targets for ne'er-do-wells.
The first Trojans and viruses for mobile phones appeared several years ago. They were aimed at smartphones, which, at the time, meant Palm OS and Symbian OS. Now that smartphones are more prevalent -- and are capable of doing more damage -- they are juicier targets for ne'er-do-wells.The earliest cell phone bugs were mostly harmless (depending on what you call harmless). They could automatically call or SMS your entire contact lists, or be turned into SMS spam, also called spim, generating machines. As more and more smartphones are connected to the mobile Web and your business's infrastructure, they can wreak more havoc than ever.

Botnets represent one of the biggest threats. Botnet is a jargon term for a collection of software robots, or bots, that run autonomously and automatically. Botnets are used to spew spam all around the world. The problem with botnets is that the owners of infected devices are often unaware of the infection, and never take any action to prevent the spread.

According to a report, Georgia Tech researchers are very worried about botnets infecting cell phones. They say, "If cell phones become absorbed in botnets, new types of moneymaking scams could be born. For example, infected phones could be programmed to call pay-per-minute 1-900 numbers or to buy ringtones from companies set up by the criminals. A big appeal of cell phones for hackers is that the devices are generally always on, they're sending and receiving more data, and they typically have poor security."

Some smartphones have better security options than others. Software for BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian exists. While large corporations that provision enterprise-class devices en masse are likely to take advantage of the security offerings on the market, some businesses are sure to overlook the threat.

With the growing prevalence of sensitive enterprise data on mobile devices, businesses that enable their employees with smartphones and other mobile technology can no longer be so blasé about the risks.