Apps Are Easy Entryways for Attacks

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-17 Print this article Print


5. Apps are easy entryways

After Apple launched the App Store and other companies followed suit, smartphone owners around the world assumed they could download any program to their mobile devices with complete confidence and safety. But as last year's Android Market infiltrations showed, that's not the case. Even so, users don't realize the threats associated with apps, and how easily they can be used against them. Even text-messaging applications can deliver malicious payloads. Apps are a unique and hugely profitable opportunity for cyber-criminals, and this year they're not going to let that slip by.

6. Where are all the security apps?

Interestingly, security companies have been somewhat slow to deliver mobile anti-malware applications to safeguard mobile devices. The big firms, like McAfee, offer some apps, of course, but as with early Windows software, they don't appear to be keeping up as well as they could with all the threats out there. Even cloud security solutions are subpar. It's about time the security community gets far more serious about protecting people both online and on the Web.

7. User ignorance is a factor

It's no secret that one of the main reasons Windows became such a security hole was that its users let it happen. Too often, PC owners don't update security software, go to malicious sites and trust sources that they shouldn't. In the mobile and online world, things are even worse. Unfortunately, people have been conditioned to believe that the real threats are on Windows, when in reality, they're also present on the Web and in mobile operating systems. Study after study has shown that people are especially lax about security when using a smartphone. This year, cyber-criminals will capitalize on that in a big way-and we'll all rue the day we failed to acknowledge the importance of security no matter where we are.

8. The enterprise is moving there

If history is to be our guide, it will show that whenever the enterprise goes to a new technology or service, cyber-criminals will follow. Now, the enterprise is shifting to mobile products, like the iPhone and iPad, and cloud services. Seeing a potential cash windfall, cyber-criminals are pouncing. Make no mistake, the enterprise's shift to the Web and mobile is a big reason cyber-criminals are doing the same.

9. Solutions are few and far between

Just about everywhere one turns, they'll find a security company or analyst talking about the increased threats we'll be facing in the coming months. But at what point do all those analysts and researchers deliver a solution to safeguard users? Sure, there's security software and other online safeguard mechanisms, but it's not enough. Solutions are needed to identify cyber-criminals, anticipate their actions and respond with a way to stop them.

10. The opportunities are endless

The move to mobile and cloud computing has brought about an endless universe of inviting targets. No computing device connected to the Internet is immune. New opportunities for cyber-criminals to target users are nearly endless. Should they go after us via email, hacked Websites, SMS messaging or malware-tainted apps? How about social networks? Mobile devices and the Web provide an endless array of opportunities for cyber-criminals to hit us. The challenge is for the technology industry to find innovative and broad solutions to the ever-expanding array of cyber-threats.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel