The Growing Threat of Mobile Device Spyware and Adware
Many users of smartphones, tablets and netbooks are unaware of the growing threat of mobile device spyware and adware . Most of them seem to think it is something to worry about in the future. It is not. It is here now and it is spreading fast.
One example of the growing threat of mobile device spyware and adware is Commwarrior which infects Symbian Series 60 devices, including many Nokia smartphones. Commwarrior now accounts for more than ten per cent of all of MMS traffic and telephone companies have had to develop special filters to block it.
Although the growing threat of mobile device spyware and adware exists, it is as yet nowhere near the level experienced by users of the Microsoft Windows operating system. The factors that have limited the growing threat of mobile device spyware and adware include not only the variety of operating systems and hardware but also how they are applied to mobile devices. Some device platforms are closed or limited to digitally signed software and tech companies are also developing spyware applications for mobile devices.
As well as spyware, adware developers are also now homing in on mobile devices. Bus stop advertising has been designed with a device that sends out spam messages via Bluetooth. However, this is currently only effective once the device owner accepts the message. Therefore bus stop advertising companies are now working on technology that uses software installed on mobile devices that automatically receives and displays advertising transmitted via Bluetooth. This software, which runs in the background, will eliminate the need for the user to accept the message before it is displayed. In addition, the software will collect demographic information from the mobile device owner, allowing companies to tailor their advertising to individuals.
This function of the software is likely to bring it within the industry definition of adware. Mobile device spyware and adware also include worms and Trojans on mobile platforms and in mobile devices. The growing threat of mobile device spyware and adware is a result of companies producing applications that are less and less affected by the limiting factors mentioned above.