October 19, 2018. | Data security, Infrastructure, News

Smartphone security – why hackers are targeting phones


Smartphone security is an increasingly important tool as hackers look for new ways to get to your data.

The number of smartphone malware attacks increased by a staggering 400 per cent in 2016, according to a report issued by mobile phone manufacturer Nokia in March 2017.

The Finnish firm has been tracking mobile threats since 2012 and its most recent report indicated malware stuck 1.3 per cent of all mobile devices in October 2016, the highest figure on record.


Smartphones were also the most targeted devices, accounting for 85 per cent of all infections in the second half of the year.

Interestingly, Android devices appeared to be the primary target, accounting for 85 per cent of all attacks, while Apple devices accounted for just 4 per cent.


The report also suggests cyber-criminals are moving away from attacking PCs and moving to target smartphones instead. Windows PCs accounted for 15% of all malware attacks in 2016, down from 22 per cent in the first half of the year.

While an internet security program is considered a necessity for computers, less prominence is given to the security level of smartphones and tablets and Penta partner Norton believes attackers are using this to their advantage.

Malicious software

The firm says: “Hackers can try to access information on your computer through malicious software or malware, but most people realize the importance of having computer security software. What may be less obvious, however, is malware can also infect smartphones and tablets, since they are essentially mini computers, running ‘mobile operating systems’. As such, they can be susceptible to the same types of threats and vulnerabilities as computer operating systems.”

According to Kaspersky, criminals target smartphones as they will often contain sensitive banking information. With the boom in online banking, most people now use their phone to least check their accounts and pay for goods using saved card details.


The Russian internet giant claimed banking Trojans account for 95 per cent of all malware, which can come in many forms, such as ‘bonus levels’ for games you have downloaded from the app store or a fraudulent security update.

Mobile malware

 Protect yourself
 Key reasons tablets and mobiles need protection

 Trusted numbers
 How the mobile threats are changing

 Banking Trojans
 Mobile banking is the holy grail for hackers

To protect your smartphone from attack, we recommend you only download apps from trusted developers and only through the Google or Apple app store. We would also advise reading reviews and checking the data policies before installing, too.

But most importantly, we would suggest installing smartphone security software. In the same way your computer’s software will work away in the background, finding and eliminating threats, a smartphone security program will look out for viruses while you use your phone to check your accounts or send work emails during your commute to the office.


Finally, while most people are aware of phishing attacks, relatively few people are aware of ‘smishing’ attacks. Hackers are moving beyond your email inbox and are now targeting your mobile. In the same way you should never open an email attachment from an unknown sender, we would advise against opening links sent in text messages from unknown numbers.

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