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Security Report Describes Multiple Threats Targeting Apple And Android Mobile Devices

Your Apple brand mobile device may not be as secure as you think it is. Trend Micro released a report last week about mobile device security. Key findings from the report:

  • During the first three months of 2012, Apple led all major technology vendors with 91 reported vulnerabilities (; followed by Oracle (78), Google (73), Microsoft (43), IBM (42), Cisco (36), Mozilla (30), MySQL (28), Adobe (27), and  Apache (24).
  • During the same period, Android-based smartphone suffered from the most cyber criminal attacks. Trend Micro identified about 5,000 new malicious apps that target Android devices

The report described a variety of scams and threats targeting mobile device users worldwide. The “one-click billing fraud” scam is particularly nasty. In this scam, thieves target video sharing websites. When a person clicks on a link to view a video, the link redirects to a website that downloads a software virus to their device. The virus locks up the person’s device and demands payment to unlock the device. This scam now targets Android-based smartphones.

Some scams used email hoaxes about new products to spread malware:

Free “iPad 3” giveaway promos stirred up interest in the product even before its launch and infected systems with malware. Twitter spam touting free McDonald’s gift cards redirected users to adult dating sites..."

Some scams used new social networking sites to spread computer viruses:

“New social networking site, Pinterest, gained not just popularity but also notoriety. Site users were drawn into “re-pinning” a Starbucks logo to get supposed gift cards but instead got Malware.”

The report describes another type of scams, often referred to as “ransomeware” which:

“Refers to a class of malware that holds systems and/or files “hostage” unless victims pay up...”

Ransomeware may also encrypt files on the hard drives of victims’ infected devices, and demand payment to release the encrypted files. Trend Micro reported that this scam previously operated in Russia, but has now spread to several countries in Europe. A variation of this scam includes the use of police department logos on a landing page which demands that victims with infected computers pay a bogus fine for accessing Internet port and materials with violent content.

Before installing apps on your smartphone, the report’s authors advice consumers to:

  1. Be ready to give out some personal information.
  2. Know that a third-party will gain access to your personal information.
  3. Know the app developer’s reputation

Download the “Security In the Age of Mobility” report (Adobe PDF, 2.1 MBytes).


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