Mobile Phones May Be The Next Target
I do not know how often you change mobile phones. If you are like me, I always have to get my hands on the latest and greatest the moment it's available. And each time, I'm amazed by the technological advancements and services they have to offer.
Mobile Phone Viruses
Most of the newer phones are more like a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) than a phone, offering contact management, web browsers, downloadable games, cameras and much more. I myself have downloaded a few games to my new phone. Today's mobile phones run operating system's similar to those used by your PDA or home computer, but on a smaller scale. It is only a matter of time before hackers and developers discover ways to wreak havoc on these devices by creating malicious code similar to a standard virus your computer can contract.
What could be the result? The possibilities are limitless. With one mobile phone virus attack on your wireless phone you could lose all your contact information, the phone could be directed to dial random numbers (even expensive international numbers), be used to relay SPAM, or worse, replicate a virus by sending itself to all of your contacts.
Cell Phone Viruses
The release of cell phone viruses is rooted in some of the most common applications we've come to use and appreciate. Have you ever sent someone a text message from your mobile phone? I use it quite often to communicate with close friends and relatives. If you think about it, a text message is no different than an email – including how simple and pervasive SPAM has become on your computer. On mobile phones, programmers and hackers are discovering a great way to send unsolicited e-mails or messages.
For instance, if your mobile phone number is 555-1000, chances are that your number is just one of a large block of mobile numbers such as 555-1001, 1002, 1003, and so on. So if a spammer picks a random start point within a block of numbers, it would be easy to write a small program that would send the same SPAM message to all mobile numbers within that block. On top of this, many mobile services make you responsible for paying for the text messages. Not only will you become annoyed by unsolicited messages, you could be paying for them as well.
Cell Phone Security
Have you ever received an unsolicited text message on your mobile phone – one not from your phone service provider? I have at least once in the recent months. I received a text message from an anonymous source that contained information about some sort of health product. Not only did it contain a brief sales pitch, it also had a web link attached to it. How they got my mobile phone number is beyond me.
But the bigger and more threatening reality the episode posed was in exposing the potential for viruses, worms, backdoors, and unsolicited content to reach our mobile phones.
Mobile Phone Security
So what can we do about this? As far as text messages are concerned, some mobile phones give you the option to define an approved list of numbers. This way you can only receive messages from people or organizations you know.
Viruses and malicious code are an entirely different subject. I've not seen this happen in the wild yet, but I can tell you it's only a matter of time. The manufacturers of mobile phones and the operating systems they run will need to take some responsibility for making sure their product are secure.
Given the fact that nothing is 100% secure, you can bet that mobile phone-attacking viruses will become a reality. Who knows, the Anti-Virus software developers may have a whole new market.