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McAfee cautions against emerging smartphone malware threats

According to McAfee prediction, the mobile malware threats against smartphones are likely to reach a tipping point in 2011.

The mobile malware threats are growing by the day, says the McAfee malware prediction for 2011 about emerging threats. As the number of new platforms increase, the hackers are also likely to adapt themselves to the changed situation. In simple terms, they are targeting all the popular platforms including smartphones.

Instead of using email spamming, the cyber criminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices. The decline in email spamming may also have been observed due to removal of several spam botnets (group of compromised computers which are used by the cyber criminals to spam).

The Symbian based mobile phones face the greatest threat due to their larger numbers, and as the other platform increase their numbers, the threat perception about them will also grow. Android/Geinimi has been a huge threat for the smartphones which was a hidden in the completely legitimate apps.

If the readers conclude that compared to the PCs, mobile malware are lesser in numbers …. they are right. But the emphasis on smartphones is increasing as they smartphones and tablets become the primary computing tool for the masses.

The cost burden for people for smartphone security is also likely to increase and it may go on to become a huge industry, just like the personal computer security segment. The smartphones face a greater threat also due to lack of awareness among the users about how to protect their phones from malware.

Despite all the talk from the experts, there has been no eruption of attacks on the mobile devices (not that we want it to happen). McAfee predicts situation will worsen in 2011. In 2010 itself, several new threats surfaced including rootkits (third party software which conceals the fact that original files have been altered), jailbreaking (unauthorized unlocking) of phones and the arrival of Zeus, which is a Trojan. Even the simple URL shorteners pose a threat because people don’t know where the link will lead them until they reach there.

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