There was a time when one had to keep wallets tucked away safely in overcoat pockets and hidden between stealth folds in bags and purses. Thanks to the mobile revolution, all these safety maneuvers aren’t needed the way they used to be.
Unfortunately, this is not to say that crime has gone down, if anything, it’s gotten easier and thieves have found new playgrounds to refine their pilfering skills in.
You see mobiles are the latest targets for pick pockets and thieves, and not just for the device itself. Your mobile is precious because it contains a large amount of personal data and of course was bought with your hard earned money.
Instead of snatching the actual device though, cyber equipped pick pockets are designing computer programs which end up stealing money from smartphones.
It’s That Easy
One of the most recent cases of such an incident seem to be stemming from malware hosted on a Russian website. Users can actually sign up on it and with a few simple clicks create their own personalized malware, which starts from picking a group of people to target and then ends with a web address to set the creation loose.
Now all of this is mere child’s play, the actual tough part arises when it comes to spamming and getting enough users to visit the chosen web address. What happens when one does log onto such a site you may be wondering?
Well those who are unfortunate enough to do so usually end up getting accessed by a code which plunders your SMS balance if you use premium rate text services.
Since most people have their mobile phones linked up by payment plans, removing cash becomes a lot simpler than if the same transaction were taking place through PC. According to LookOut, 70% of mobile scams attempt to make money through your phones premium rate charges.
Unfortunately sites like these are becoming quick fixes for anyone who is in the mood of setting up a rowdy past time if nothing else. The reason why many of these scams end up being successful are the sheer quantity of people involved.
So many of us use mobiles as digital wallets, we no longer carry cash, we use apps to pay bills, conduct business, and shop directly through PayPal accounts.
Sites that offer ways to create ‘do it yourself’ malware are really just setting up shop themselves, luring people into means for easy scams. When you consider the possibility of millions of people with access to sites like these, the projected crime rates are startling to say the least.
Previously, what were known as ‘crimeware kits’ were actually how to programs for starter hackers that allowed them to come up with their own viruses and malware to target PC users. The Russian website discovery indicates how this trend is now shifting to mobile targets.
Currently, none of the sites or kits which boast of two minute malware are all that fancy shmancy or sophisticated in any way, making them easily identifiable. However, this is the current situation. In all likelihood, these sort of mobile money pick pockets will refine their techniques and the malware they use will become more effective.
So how is one to fight off these annoying spammers and pick pockets from digging into our mobile wallets? Well one answer is that we stick to official marketplaces when dealing with apps.
According to experts from a range of security firms, this should bring down the chances of getting hit by malware. Clicking on links which are sent out from anonymous or strange looking ids is a major no-no.
Natalia David is a known figure in the field of technology writing. She has written a lot of articles on cell phone monitoring and call tracking software which has earned a great fan following. You can also follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4