Your smartphone and tablet are as vulnerable as your computer

May 19 2014, 09:22 IST
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Phishing scams are increasingly using mobile apps to bait victims, warns Kaspersky Lab Phishing scams are increasingly using mobile apps to bait victims, warns Kaspersky Lab
SummaryPhishing scams are increasingly using mobile apps to bait victims, warns Kaspersky Lab.

When it comes to viruses, internet attacks, identity theft and criminals trying to steal banking or credit card data—your smartphone and tablet are just as vulnerable as your computer. Furthermore, today’s compact mobile devices are easy to lose and easy for thieves to target—so there’s an even greater risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.

At a ground level, almost everyone nowadays has a smartphone and nearly every popular website has a mobile version. Let us not forget popular mobile messengers WhatsApp, Viber and Google Hangouts that are very popular. But be warned; attackers are exploiting this popularity by spreading fake notifications from mobile apps. According to security firm Kaspersky Lab, in the first quarter of 2014 spammers started imitating messages from mobile apps. They especially like internet properties such as WhatsApp, Viber, Google Hangouts. Notifications purportedly sent from these apps were used to spread both malware and harmless adverts. Kaspersky Lab especially warns die-hard Apple fans of phishing attacks targeting Apple IDs, which the security firms feels will become more frequent in the times to come.

Let’s face it: when it comes down to it, spam and phishing scams rely primarily on exploiting trust. If the attacker can find a way to make the message appear to be from a known source, the odds that a user will take the bait are much higher. This has led to malware infections that access your contacts and send out infected emails on your behalf to everyone you know, and those same basic techniques have been adapted for instant messaging, social networks, and even SMS text messaging. In other words, Kaspersky Lab warns that mobile apps are the new frontier.

In a related incident concerning popular apps, Symantec came across scammers from India who managed to fool fellow Indians in the name of ethical hacking. The scammers tricked the users by claiming to offer a tool that could hack Facebook in order to obtain passwords belonging to the users’ friends with a disclaimer stating that it was for ‘education purposes’ only. For the same, the users needed to copy paste the code on browser console window and wait 120 minutes before the hack will supposedly work.

Unknowingly during this time, users ended up hacking their own accounts for the scammers and exposed their friends in the process. In the background, the account was used to follow lists and users, and give likes to

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