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Mobile Hackers Change Strategy to SMS Fraud

When compared to computer hacking, mobile hacking is  a very new concept and criminals are still learning and developing new models. Rampant mobile phone usage started only five to seven years ago and the devices became highly intertwined with our lives in the past couple of years. Advancement in smartphone technology and its usage has also played its part in making mobile phones  the hot target of mobile hackers. Recently, researchers have unearthed a new technique that hackers use to gain unauthorized access to mobile devices and cause a variety of problems to users. This new technique is known as SMS fraud.

Introduction to SMS Fraud

Have you ever had an SMS sent to you from an unknown number or an automated SMS gateway that has an embedded link in it? Or have you had the message containing a link to an app that is very convenient like password storage, games, banking, etc forwarded to you? Those are the methods used to perform SMS fraud. When you click on that link, you will be forwarded to a page that contains the malicious software that the hackers have developed. Once you reach the page, that code will get automatically downloaded and installed on your mobile phone.

As we use mobile phones for almost everything these days, the software will literally provide the hacker with every possible bit of information that they need to hack into our social media accounts, user accounts, bank accounts and most likely, for identity theft as well. This data is more comprehensive than what is found on a computer  and what more, they can even obtain real time data and also track the user’s location using the GPS that is present in his/her phone. This is the reason why mobile hackers are focusing more on mobile SMS fraud rather than any other form of hacking.

Mobile Users Show a Certain Laxity about Security

Leading online security services firm, Symantec Corp, conducted a survey on how people handle their mobile security and it showed that two out of three people do not use any sort of mobile security software. Also the participants of the survey had a false sense of security while using their mobile phones for accessing the internet. While most of them did report that they use software to protect their computers against online threats, they did not pay too much attention to the same threats that can attach to their mobile phones.

Also, more than 72% of smartphone users confessed to clicking on links that they got from anonymous text messages at least once. These text messages ranged from anything between free mobile app download to worry free torrents. The participants also reported that they spent some time browsing on that destination just out of sheer curiosity more than anything else. This type of behavior is what is making mobile devices easy pickings for cyber criminals.

Android Users at the Greatest Risk

It is a well known fact that Android is open source software and anyone can access the source code and use it in any way they want. Although the hackers are not contributing much to the development of the operating system, they are getting the opportunity to study the software in depth and analyze it. This has enabled them to create software that is not only custom made for Android but is also highly effective and stealthy.

The only solution for this problem is that mobile users should be more proactive in ensuring that their devices are secured from these kinds of threats. When there is any sort of suspicious behavior noticed on the phone, they should make it a point to get the phone examined by an expert and in case the security is breached, they should start preparing for rearguard action.

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