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Malware targets mobile devices

Mar 13, 2013 Dave King

As mobile payments become a more popular way for consumers to make everyday purchases, concerns over the safety of this medium are growing more pressing. In the recent G Data Malware report, researches found that some mobile devices are more susceptible to malware than others.

According to the study, malware is increasingly targeting Android devices, such as smartphones and tablets. In the second half of 2012, G Data Security Labs found a new type of malware directed toward this operating system every two minutes on average. Of these attacks, most were Trojans, which trick users by posing as legitimate applications. When the individual attempts to use the program, their devices become infected, which can sometimes result in the compromise of sensitive data.

"Over the last few months, Android malware has become an e-crime growth market; we are constantly recording new variants of malicious apps," said Ralf Benzmüller, head of G Data Security Labs. "However, the perpetrators are not only relying on spreading malicious apps, but are increasingly trying to integrate infected devices into botnets. This turns smartphones into spam machines."

The researchers believe that NFC chips will also soon be a major target for cybercriminals.

Maintaining a consistent identity
Despite mobile payment methods providing a number of benefits to consumers, from allowing NFC transactions to supporting many innovations related to ACH cards, identity theft is a very real threat that developers of these solutions will have to overcome. As consumers become comfortable with storing more personal data including bank account and credit card information on their mobile devices, criminals are likely to continue developing weapons aimed at these technologies.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 8.6 million households in 2010 contained at least one member who had been a victim of identity theft. This figure accounted for 7 percent of the U.S. population.

In addition, between 2005 and 2010, more households experienced actual financial losses related to identity theft incidents, with rates increasing from 18.5 percent to 23.7 percent by the end of the research period.

It is now more important than ever for consumers to seek out up-to-date information about their consumer credit scores. Individuals should check this data regularly to make sure that they have not been subject to identity theft. If a criminal has taken out a fraudulent line of credit in another person's name, the negative effects can be devastating and long-lasting.