I am sure all you guys have already downloaded that Olympics 2012 app on your mobile devices to watch the grandeur, follow the medal winners, buy your tickets, and place your bets. I downloaded one this morning too. And then, I read this report from ThreatMatirx on 5 major threats that will be encountered on smartphones during the Olympics this year. I thought of sharing the findings with you guys as well, just in case you’re an Olympic freak like meJ.
Mobile devices have reached their ‘wild west’ stage according to PC world. A state with no rules, and lots of lawlessness. Smartphones are now ubiquitous, one in every hand, and an indispensable commodity, perhaps. But along with the many favorable possibilities, there is an emerging ecosystem of hackers and malicious developers exposing smartphone users to a lot of risk. 70 new malware threats were discovered on mobile devices in 2011, and 2012 is about to beat that number. Why are smartphones vulnerable? Because, people don’t see and understand the level of risk they’re exposed to. And so, they don’t care to take the precautions.
This might be a beginning, so if you want to enjoy your Olympics, watch out for these threats:
Dubious Apps – Yes, there will be many, who would try to access information from your device surreptitiously. They would access your contact database and ask them to download the app on their devices as well. So you got to pay attention to the permissions when you download an app.
Drive by Downloads – You Google Olympics 2012, and click on a link to see the action. Guess what, that’s not a legit site or they have a malicious plot on a legit site and now your device is infected.
Hidden links – Be very careful of those shortened URLs, yes those Bit.Lys. There are tools which can help you figure if those are legit URLs or not. If you click on them blindly, you are likely to get to a malicious site.
Search Engine Poisoning — Hackers are gaming the search engines. They have ways to show up on the top pages and lure you into clicking on their links. So dive deeper, don’t just blindly click on the first few links.
Phising attacks — Cyber-crime is not new, but it takes a different dimension on mobile devices. If you’re in London and are looking for tickets, make sure you don’t buy them just because they’re cheap, they might be fake for all you know. Do your due diligence.
Not saying that your Olympic experience on mobile is trouble ridden, but it is always good to understand the risks. All you have to do is take a minute to think before you click on anything. How did you get to that link, did a friend send it to you or a stranger? You read a post about Olympics and clicked on that link, who wrote that post? Your close Facebook friend, or someone you randomly follow on Twitter. And post Olympics, keep the lessons from this article to have a mal-free experience on your phones.
Enjoy a great Olympics season!