Is your smart phone infected with malware?

And how would you know, since you're probably not checking for it

Is there malicious software running on your smart phone?

Would you know about it if there were?

Chris Carboni, writing a blog entry for the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center, isn't sure you would know. ISC launched an online poll in June that allowed readers to report their experiences with malware on mobile devices. So far, as of July 12, Carboni reported that the poll shows:

  • Only 15.3 percent of readers are scanning mobile devices for malware.
  • Of those who are, however, 18.1 percent are finding it.
  • But 84.6 percent are not even looking.

The poll is unscientific, and only 540 people had responded by July 12, which Carboni admits "is not a particularly large sample."

However, he added, "I have been monitoring the statistics as responses are entered and the percentage of people reporting they found malware consistently ranged from 15-20 [percent] so 18.1 [percent] seems to be a reasonable number. Likewise the percentage of people who were not scanning ranged consistently from 82-86 [percent]. Based on those numbers, 83 of the 457 people who responded who were not looking for malware would be infected. Ouch."

Kelly Jackson Higgins, writing on the DarkReading blog, reported that malware targeting smart phones is a rapidly growing threat. The number of malware and spyware programs found on the phones has doubled in the first half of 2010, Higgins wrote on June 7.

"Even more worrisome [than the sheer number] is how rapidly these threats are hitting smart phones in comparison to the desktop," Higgins continued. "What took 15 years to evolve with the desktop machine is happening practically overnight in mobile handsets, security experts say."

Smart phones, as any user knows, can store vital personal information, including payment data, passwords and stored e-mail and text messages.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.