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Do You Need To Protect Your Mobile Device Too?

As the world shifts to browsing the internet through their mobile device, it has become increasingly important to protect your mobile device as well as your personal computer. Whilst it may not seem a big problem at this point thanks to the security of smartphones today, the same mindset was applied back in the 80s and 90s to personal computers. As time goes on, hackers and malware creators and moving their focus towards mobile due to it being the fastest growing (by a long way) method of connecting to the internet. Just as businesses tend to do, hackers and malware creators go where the people are. And the world full of smartphone users is a heck of a lot of people!

In short, yes! Malware for smartphones (yes, even iPhones) have been floating around the internet for a long time already, spread through the mass interconnectedness they so inherently produce. Hackers are using mediums like Whatsapp (with over 1 billion monthly active users) to spread viruses with surprising success. Towards the end of 2014, there was a very large case of malware propagation associated with a protest in Hong Kong. The creator of the malware reached many thousands of Hong Kong residents through Whatsapp, the messages explained that they had made an app which would act as the organizer for the protest. Of course, lots of people took the bait. In actuality, the app was a trojan horse, disguised as a way to organize a protest but really only serving as malware.

Another large scale iOS attack came in the form of ‘WireLurker’, a very clever piece of malware which the user would never know had been installed. WireLurker reached many more iPhone users than the Hong Kong protest trojan horse, some estimates put the number around 350,000 affected devices. WireLurker worked by first infecting a Mac, spreading through more conventional methods like disguised downloads or bundling (where you get exactly what you expected to download as well as another piece of software, sometimes it can be malware), it then waiting for an iPhone to be connected to the Mac, infecting it when one was. Infected devices would then be susceptible to data theft, if the infected device was jailbroken (very common in the iOS community - a way of removing the limits Apple place on iPhones, allowing you to download and install custom apps with the need for certification from Apple; often used to get paid apps for free) then the dangers were exacerbated. Without the need for a certificate from Apple, WireLurker could download anything it liked to your iPhone.

The most widespread smartphone attack came in the form of the malware Cyber.Police and ICE, a form of mobile ransomware targeting more than 1.5 billion android devices around the world. The malware locks your smartphone screen and displays pornographic images, stating that you have 3 days to pay a ransom. You are unable to unlock the screen without factory resetting your device.

This can all be resolved by employing mobile protection as well as pc protection.