In a story from the Associated Press, Herb Wesibaum, The ConsumerMan, said security experts had predicted that “2012 will be a breakthrough year for cyberattacks on smartphones.” He said sheer number made the gadgets an inviting target.
Practically every mobile phone company has a smartphone to offer, and people no longer use their phones simply to make calls or send short messages (text). Smartphones are virtual computers—just much tinier. People send and receive e-mail, do banking transactions, and pay for purchases and many more through their mobiles.
Wesibaum quoted Rachel Ratcliff Womack of the digital security firm Stroz Friedberg: “Shopping and mobile banking are…going to leave a trail, and contain lots of goodies that criminals can go after.”
And, Wesibaum said, smartphones were not only loaded with all sorts of personal information a crook would be interested in, but the gadgets were often completely unprotected.
While James Lyne, director of technology strategies at Sophos, an international firm specializing in online security for businesses, felt people definitely should start being concerned about mobile phone security, he noted they still did not seem as concerned about it as they were with their computers.
While most smartphones could have security vulnerabilities, Wesibaum’s report said mobile malware was currently aimed at Android devices since it powered more handsets and it was an open platform, making it an easy target for malicious software.
Wesibaum said Lookout Mobile Security estimated that Android users lost more than a million dollars to cyber-thieves in 2011. Kevin Mahaffey, Lookout’s chief technology officer, said they expected 2012 to be more profitable for the mobile malware business. As in computers, mobile malware could spy on people, run up wireless bills or steal personal information.
Gary Davis of McAfee Labs said, among other things, banking Trojans could intercept transactions and empty accounts, spyware could harvest information about places smartphone users went and record phone conversations that would be forwarded to the attacker. Users could also click on a malicious link or be tricked into giving out personal information via a phishing scam.
Next week: How to protect yourself
Angelita C. Cruz wishes satellite offices of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in airports will expand its services to cover more vacationing Filipinos.
In her e-mail, Cruz said, while the government called overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) heroes, it made it difficult for them to visit. “Every OFW who comes home to visit for a week or so has to report to the main POEA office in Edsa-Ortigas to get some sort of permit that will allow them to take the return flight to their places of employment,” she said.
She said POEA offices in airports only helped OFWs who were staying in the country for no more than three days. Cruz suggested that POEA satellite offices in all international airports should allow vacationing OFWs to get the required documents as soon as they arrived.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Investigation has just opened its 10th NBI Clearance Center at Robinsons Luisita. It will serve residents of the towns of Capas, Bamban and Concepcion, and Tarlac City, as well as Magalang and Mabalacat, Pampanga. It will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday to Friday.
The NBI Clearance Center is part of Robinsons Malls Lingkod Pinoy Center, which hosts various government agencies including the Government Service Insurance System, Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]