Cybercrooks Tire of Windows -- They're After Your iPhone Now

Smartphone apps are particularly vulnerable to hackers as they access user information without permission.
2 min read
Brought to you by PCWorld

Cybercrime is moving away from traditional targets, like Windows PCs, and focusing more on mobile devices, according to Cisco's 2010 Annual Security Report (PDF). As Microsoft becomes more savvy about patching holes in its OS, cybercriminals are treading into new territories, with a strong focus on iOS and Android.

When the federal government declared jailbreaking cellphones legal, intrepid hackers sought and discovered more exploits in mobile operating systems. A prominent example used by Cisco is JailbreakMe 2.0, the Safari-based iPhone flaw -- which has since been patched -- that allowed users to jailbreak with very little tampering of iOS.

Cisco threat research manager Scott Olechowski also said that the proliferation of Android will likely lead to major attacks on Google's OS in the future. Olechowski noted that the more devices that adopt Android -- such as smartphones, tablets, even vehicles -- the more enticing the open-source OS becomes, especially when it comes to the big bucks in the enterprise.

Most concerning for mobile hacks are apps, many of which access user information without permission. Recently, Trapster, an app that warns drivers when a speed trap is ahead, was hacked, exposing millions of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile phone passwords -- some of which may also have been linked to a user's PayPal account.

Many companies using smartphones for work do not have a cybersecurity strategy planned or in place, according to Cisco. This is a major concern for iOS business consumers, given that the iPhone is being used at 88 percent of the Fortune 100 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune 500.

And for you PC users out there: Tired of your Mac-using friends' snooty condescension about how their machines are impervious to viruses? Turns out that hackers are targeting Mac users more and more.

Although Apple regularly pushes out security updates, due to increased iOS product adoption -- especially on the iPad, which has sponged 90 percent of the tablet market-digging into a Mac isn't so much a waste of time anymore. Still, compared to Windows, the malware threat to Macs is tiny.

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