In the last couple of years, mobile phones, especially the high-end ones, have become powerful Web devices that allow us to perform about any Internet-related activity. We no longer need a desktop PC to access our email, browse websites and even download stuff. But you already know this.
What you might not know is that, as cell phones get more and more sophisticated when it comes to Internet capabilities, so does the risk of them being hacked rise. According to The Associated Press, security researchers from Georgia Tech are saying that handsets might soon become the target of hackers.
Cell phones could become easy targets for the “Internet predators” because they constantly send and receive data and they’re almost always on. Also, few users have antivirus applications installed on their handsets, since these usually drain out the battery life quite fast.
Helped by botnets (aka networks of infected or automated PCs), hackers might find ways to exploit the vulnerabilities of mobile operating systems, thus spreading spam and malware.
If botnets will reach cell phones, Georgia Tech researchers say, moneymaking scams unseen before might appear. Hackers could, for example, program an infected handset to call pay-per-minute numbers or to buy unwanted mobile content. What would hackers win form this? Well, assuming the companies from where the content is bought are set up by the hackers themselves, it’s obvious that they have a lot to win.
Still, cell phones are not as easy to be hacked as desktop computers. Cellular networks are quite different from the WWW networks. Moreover, mobile operators usually rule their networks with an iron fist (figuratively speaking), so they can easily shut down any communication line when reports about infected phones emerge.
Luckily, for the moment there are no evidences of cell phones actually being hacked, so let’s hope that malware spreaders will limit their actions to PCs.
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