Smartphone attacks planned for 2009

Internet browsing and cash transactions on cellphones are set for increased hacker attention.

2009 will the year that cybercriminals start to target the mobile phone in earnest, according to security software specialist VeriSign iDefense, particularly as mini applets that allow smartphones to execute wireless monetary transactions become more widespread.

Rival security firm Kaspersky agrees that the mobile malware threat is growing, but believes it will not be until 2010 that the situation becomes far more serious.

Verisign iDefense’s 2009 ‘Threat Intelligence Predictions Report’, made available in Europe yesterday [December 22nd], says Britain is a ‘heavily targeted information security environment’.

It warns that the ‘out of band’ authentication schemes that financial institutions use to move money between accounts from mobile phones are vulnerable to hacker attack.

And with growing numbers of people using online banking, and more financial institutions offering mobile banking services, the potential pickings for cybercriminals are becoming more attractive.

UK bank NatWest said yesterday it had implemented a mobile money transfer via its Mobile Phone Banking service with a bank in Poland for the first time, as migrant Polish workers sent money home for Christmas from their handset.

Paypal also introduced an application that allows users of Blackberry smartphones to conduct Paypal transactions over mobile networks.

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