Hackers are targeting mobile devices more than ever
Vince Vitrano, Stephanie Graham
Leanne Karlgut had no idea her phone had a virus, until one day in the middle of a quiet auditorium...
"My phone started singing a song and the song had a couple curse words in it and I, there's no way I could make it stop," she recalls.
Cyber criminals are trying to attack our phones and tablets at an alarming rate. McAfee labs says there was a 600% increase in the number of mobile malware threats it found from 2011 to 2012. Cyber security expert George Waller estimates nearly 50% of all smartphones and tablets are already infected!
"As more people are using the phone for both their personal use and their business use the malware writers are viewing that as a good, a good spot to hit you," Waller warns.
Not just that, people often have no idea they've been hit. Click on a poison link, text, or download an infected app and your phone is zapped with malware. Some vicious viruses install key logging software which allows crooks to record every text or email you write, and every password you enter.
Another prediction for 2013: An increase in mobile 'ransom-ware'. That's where the malware hi-jacks and freezes your device until you pay a fee!
If you use a mobile wallet app, some experts worry when you 'tap and pay', using your phone, criminals could intercept that short wave radio chip transmission, which sends your credit card info from the phone to a retailer.
There's also a way for crooks to program a smartphone to pick up chip signals directly from a credit card and you wouldn't have a clue.
Eddie Lee works for Blackwing Intelligence. He says, "So I have one person standing next to a victim and my accomplice at a retail location could be halfway around the world and they've just spent this person's credit card."
The Wireless Trade Association says with all these growing tactics, the battle never ends for companies to stay ahead of cyber crooks. Jot Carpenter with the CTIA says, "The industry is working incredibly hard to try to protect both its networks and its own users."
CTIA says you can stay ahead of the bad guys by: Downloading updates for apps and your device's operating system and never clicking on any links that look suspicious that's how leanne's phone picked up that embarrassing virus.
Experts say your wireless device could be infected with malware if it runs very slowly, or if there's a tremendous amount of texts being sent from your phone or airtime being used. Contact your wireless provider if you think you have a problem.