Phone hacking an increasing threat

Mobile devices have increasinglybecome new targets for hackers.While the rate of hacking of personalcomputers and networks remain high,the attraction of hackers to mobile devices,cell phones and tablets has rapidly increaseddue to the highly personal nature of the datastorage that users usually enter on them.While the advancement of mobile deviceshas increased the average user’s reliance onthem, they have increasingly become a threatto livelihoods of their users.


Botswana presentlyhas over three million registered mobilephone lines, giving the country one of thehighest mobile penetration in the region andthe rise in the use of mobile banking and onlinepurchases.While speaking at the fi rst session of theCyber Security seminar hosted by BITS, localinternet security expert and applicationsdeveloper, Itumeleng Garebatshabe said alot of mobile device users are at the risk ofattacks. He said the increase in the use ofSmartphone has opened the door for hackersto mine data easier.“In Botswana, a lot of people have theirbanking details stored on their phones,” hesaid, adding that this time of informationis ‘gold’ for hackers as they can simply attackone’s devices through multiple apps thatfunction on and offl ine.


He said research hadshown that Android phones suffer the highestattacks, followed by Iphone, Blackberry andNokia. “This is because of the use of thirdparty app stores on Android,” thus makingthem highly venerable.Garebatshabe’s presentation echoed theMc Affee 2013 Threat Prediction reportwhich reports that apps expose a lot of malwareto the phone; “Buying apps developedby malware authors puts money in theirpockets. A mobile worm that uses exploits topropagate over numerous vulnerable phonesis the perfect platform for malware that buyssuch apps; attackers will no longer need victimsto install a piece of malware.


If user interactionisn’t needed, there will be nothingto prevent a mobile worm from going on ashopping spree.”Giving tips on how to mitigate possiblehacker exploits, the security expert said theold rule of thumb still applies when dealingwith malware, the use of complex passwords,posting less personal information on socialmedia and the constant update of securitysoftware.