– text-message malware
– hacking into smart grids
– social network account spoofing
– cyber stalking
– hackers controlling your car
– GPS jamming and spoofing.
My thoughts on this list are that the threats are plausible (at least one has already begun), the targets are available (or will be), and there is money to be made for the cybercriminal organizations that sponsor these threats. But what really grabs my attention about these future threats is that their development will require resources such as funding, expert programmers, and intelligence, that would mirror the investment in research and development of top corporations. And is easily affordable by the cybercrime organizations because of the large amounts of money they have amassed in recent years…our money.
These six threats will each be addressed in a series of articles on this blog commencing with text-messaging malware in this post.
Text-messaging malware, defined as malicious software which is injected onto mobile devices, in this case, such as smart phones using text messages that lure the smartphone user to click on a link which will infect the smart phone with malware.
The simple, relatively safe, cell phone has become a smart phone, a fully functional mobile computer. And while we all marvel at the services it provides, such as banking transactions, bill paying, access to social networking, these functions have also caused it to become a target for cyber criminal attacks.
The way text-message malware works is similar to how phishing attacks work on a computer. A message is crafted with a luring statement that an attachment (containing the malware) should be opened. Sometimes the message says something like “How did your nude picture get on the web!!???” or “Do you believe what this guy looks like…what was he thinking???”. Many times that’s all it takes to get a mobile user to click on the attachment or links that lead to the malware. The malware, sometimes a Trojan or virus that sends gobs of similar text messages from the phone, sometimes a bot that helps create a botnet that is controlled by a central computer to do lots of sleazy and illegal stuff, is then injected onto the smartphone to do its dastardly work.
To see what can be done, and what’s already happening in the smartphone realm, see my recent articles Cell Phones And Phishing Attacks: Do You Use Your Phone Safely? and Cell Phone Safety: Help Is Here…Use It. We all need to heed this bit of intelligence on where the cyber crooks are heading next and double our efforts to use mobile devices and the Internet more safely.
Part 2 of this Upcoming Cyber Security Threats series will be on Hacking Into Smart Grids…stay tuned.
Ref: Computerworld’s Six rising threats from cybercriminals
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.