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Security threat posed to consumers by smartphone hijacking

29 July 2015 - 23:35 by Graham Miller

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Anyone who uses a smartphone or tablet is, potentially, at risk of fraud or exploitation of one kind or another. And this should come as no surprise to consumers who have long been engaged with the e-commerce market, since people have been targeted for years by groups seeking to steal personal information and infect computing devices.

Now a new report from Forensiq, claims that a fresh threat is emerging in the form of mobile hijacking, whereby outside forces are surreptitiously taking control of portable devices and leveraging integrated features, to cause problems for users and businesses alike.

Over £600 million in economic damage will be done by malicious applications that are used to commit fraud over the course of this year. And over a tenth of the money invested by marketers to target in-app ads is being siphoned off by cybercriminals.

This is being achieved as a result of certain dodgy apps running advertisements in the background. These ads remain invisible to the user while they are using the app, but are displayed very regularly and can cut a swathe through even the most capacious data tariff.

This means users could end up with a big mobile bill at the end of the month without realising it, while advertisers are paying for promotional postings which are not even visible to the target audience.

People can shop online from their smartphones, as long as they stick to using official sites and apps. But there are an estimated 5,000 malicious apps lingering on the Google Play store and on iOS’ App Store, so caution is advised when downloading anything that seems out of the ordinary.

Twelve million people were impacted by malicious apps alone last year and anyone who considers safe shopping online a paramount concern will want to keep abreast of developments in this area.