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Smartphones Can Open Your Wallet To Bad Guys


Bad Guys Go Where The Money Is

Today about 38 percent of American adults own an iPhone, BlackBerry or other mobile phone that runs the Android, Windows or WebOS operating systems. Nielsen says that’s up from just 6 percent in 2007.

Seemingly all of a sudden smartphones have become, well…smart. Smartphones are email inboxes, recording devices for photos and videos, GPS’s and wallets. Using a smartphone as a payment device is powerful, with potential to change retail, as I wrote last March.

Unfortunately because users are directly billed for the services bought with smartphones, they open up new angles for financial attacks.

These crooks have hit the Android market hard. Google has removed about 100 malicious apps from its Android Market app store. One harmful app was downloaded 260,000 before it was removed.  Bad guys have hit iPhones only rarely. That’s due in large part because Apple requires that it examine each app before it goes online – including identity checks of the app’s developers.

It’s safe to assume that as the use of tablets grows they will be fair game as well.

As smartphones have penetrated everyday life for nearly 40 percent of Americans it’s not likely the threat of malware will diminish the popularity of smartphones. Rather it requires that smartphone users become smarter about how they use them and the apps the invite into their operating systems.

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