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Mobile payments make devices more attractive to cybercriminals

Jan 05, 2013 Dave King

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to complete electronic payments and purchase items. However, in the coming year, this may become riskier.

According to analysts with Javelin Strategy and Research, mobile platforms such as Google's Android and Apple's iOS are increasingly popular targets for malware and other cyber threats. The vulnerability of these devices is in part due to a growing mobile payments sector, which is already valued at $20 billion.

In fact, the number of "known malware strains" jumped from 30,000 to 175,000 in the first half of 2012, with the majority targeting Android users. However, iPhone owners may receive increasing attention from cybercriminals in the coming year, the study explains.

"Smartphone security is an increasing concern as mobile malware multiplies exponentially, and Android's open source platform continues to gain market share over iOS," the report stated. "While most malware has so far targeted Android ... iOS remains a valuable, if elusive, mark for hackers - iOS users spend more individually and have greater deposits on average than Android users."

Consumers and businesses can help keep their devices safe by being careful when using their mobile devices in areas with public wi-fi as well as regularly changing passwords on accounts.