Cellphone Crime Climbs

Cellphone Crime Climbs


Think for a moment about all of the personal information that’s stored on your cellphone. Not only contacts, but online banking, email and social media accounts. We’re accustomed to protecting our laptops and PCs against cyber attacks, but the latest trend is to target cellphones and tablets, particularly those using the Android operating system.

According to a threat report from research firm Juniper, there has been a sharp 614% rise in mobile malware attacks since 2012, 92% of which specifically targeted Android devices.

Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa says, “As consumers we’ve become reliant on using our smartphones to store essential and personal information for all aspects of our lives.

“Android now being the world’s most popular OS, makes it the perfect environment for cyber criminals to ‘phish’ for personal details. Most users are completely unaware that their phone is open to cyber threat from simply using a popular search engine, browsing a website, or even downloading an app from a third party store.”

“Hackers have spotted an incredible vulnerability in Android that means they can easily manipulate code and plant Trojans in apps to consistently access, monitor and steal personal information.

“The majority of these attacks go undetected, because users, particularly in business, don’t always have adequate protection for their mobiles, leaving a large number of devices leaking sensitive data to cyber criminals looking to make a quick buck,” adds Drew van Vuuren, CEO at 4Di Privaca.

BYOD increases the risk to business

Lee Bristow, security consultant at ESET Southern Africa, says, “As bring your own device adoption and mobility amongst the workforce continues to increase, more remote access sessions via mobile are at risk of password and information compromise.

“Local businesses equipping their staff with Android devices must begin to take security more seriously, by extending existing security across any mobile devices being used to access corporate networks and folders.”

Keep your mobile device secure

Any cellphone security application should have:

  • Anti-virus protection capable of detecting both known and unknown threats. It should run automatic and manual updates, scan logs and quarantine files daily or by default.
  • In-depth scanning using a combination of variable depth, scheduled and background scanning features.
  • Anti-theft to secure and locate the device in the event it is lost or stolen.
  • SMS and call filtering rules that can be applied to block or allow SMS messages or incoming calls.
  • Security audit that monitors installed app permissions such as location tracking, access to contacts, or in-app purchases to close any security loopholes.
  • Anti-phishing and built-in USSD control features allowing users to check for compatibility when browsing inorder  to protect against malicious websites.

User interface that keeps the device protected when navigating the web, connecting to public Wi-Fi, visiting untrustworthy websites or clicking on suspicious email or instant messages to download apps from third party stores.

Do you think cellphone cyber crime is a credible threat? Tell us in the comments below…

Alison Job
Alison Job holds a BA English, Communications and has extensive experience in writing that spans news broadcasting, public relations and corporate and consumer publishing. Find her at Google+.