Mobile Malware in 2011?
The Popularity of Mobile Applications is Causing a Threat to Smartphone Devices
The Mobile Application Industry has been picking up momentum for the past few years without any major threats or issues to prevent it from growing stronger each year but some mobile application development experts are starting to fear that 2011 will be the year of Mobile Application Malware. Although these are only predictions and precautionary discussions, many independent mobile application developers as well as mobile application development firms are starting to prepare for the threat of mobile application malware and any other viruses that may start spreading to mobile devices.
In the past, most technological users experienced the threat of malware, viruses and threats to their privacy thru their desktop computers or laptops, but as we progress into a new era of wireless mobility and Smartphones, the same threats are now spreading to mobile devices all across the world. One of the major reasons for the rise of these threats can be linked to the popularity and rise of mobile devices, specifically Smartphones in the past year.
It was estimated that up to 80 million Smartphone devices were sold around the world in the third quarter itself and that number is only expected to grow in the following years. Smartphone Mobile Devices are much more open and susceptible to external threats due to their internet capabilities which allow users to use the World Wide Web, download mobile applications, receive/send emails and use GPS functionalities to track real-time locations. With these Smartphone devices having so many capabilities and functionalities, mobile malware threats have a variety of avenues to infect a mobile device and potentially capture important information.
One of the most commonly used avenues for mobile malware/viruses/threats to invade a Smartphone device is thru Mobile Applications and Mobile Application Marketplaces. Mobile Application Marketplaces are becoming very popular and a key attractive feature to Smartphones is their ability to offer mobile applications to their users. At the same time, when mobile Smartphone users decide to download mobile applications to their devices, there is always the risk that they may be downloading a virus to their mobile device or opening themselves up to potentially revealing important information.
Apple iTune’s Mobile Application Marketplace maintains very tight control over its App Store but there have been instances where rogue mobile applications have popped up on other platforms. For example, there was a situation when Fortinet (a security vendor company) discovered that a mobile application component called Zeus, known for its banking malware, had targeted a variety of Smartphones such as Symbian and Blackberry devices. Threats like these are hard to detect until they have already done damage and unfortunately they are only expected to increase in the following years.
Since there is not any universal mobile application virus software in the market today, the main suggestion that individuals should consider to ensure their mobile Smartphone device does not get infected is to be careful on what mobile applications they download, read reviews of the applications before downloading, and make sure they are downloading it from a well-known mobile application marketplace such as Apple’s iTunes or Application Marketplace for Google’s Droid.
As long as Smartphone users stay attentive and careful of the mobile malware threats that may infect their mobile device, they have a chance to prevent any damage being done to their mobile device or personal information. Individuals must be aware of what mobile applications they choose to download onto their device and must also understand that not all mobile application developers are out there to solely create a good mobile application, some mobile application developers have other motives which can cause great issues for mobile users across the world.