1 February 2015
“Your most intimate companion could be betraying your secrets and ripping you off” (Campbell, 2014). Smartphones are loaded with your personal information and are constantly under attack by cyber criminals. Smartphones are essentially tiny computers masquerading as phones. The importance of protecting your phones from cyber criminals is just as important, if not more so, than your home computers. The main effects smartphones are having in the cyber security field are: a large increase in mobile security breaches, more complex hacks, and an increase in security protection software for phones.
Smartphones increased in popularity and capability very rapidly. There will be an estimated 2.04 billion people using a smartphone in 2015 according to (Statista, 2015). Targeting mobile phones makes more sense for cyber criminals. As they can infect more devices from a single exploit. Over the course of 10 months from August 2013 to March 2014, the number of cyberattacks increased almost ten times. Between August 2013 and July 2014 over one million Android users were attacked 3.4 million times. This was six times more than the whole previous year and a half according to a report by (Kaspersky Lab & INTERPOL, 2014, p. 13). The number of users are only going to go up and, we have to educate those users on the dangers and prevention of cyber-attacks.
Microphones, cameras, accelerometers, vibrators, light sensors, thermometers, GPS, and compasses, smartphones have a lot of sensors that make them smart. Cyber criminals are beginning to use these sensors in their exploits. For example, researchers from Indiana University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center created a program called PlaceRaider, reported (Lemos, 2013, p. 40). This program randomly takes pictures then stitches them together to create a 3D model of the smartphone user’s location. Another innovative technique involves using a smartphone that is set next to a keyboard. By using the built-in accelerometer, the program tracks the vibrations of individual keystrokes at a surprising 80 percent accuracy (Lemos, 2013, p. 40). These two techniques could be used together to allow criminals to get detailed layouts of inside banks, government buildings, or even your house; with all the key codes and passwords to defeat any physical security measures. They can later sell them to other criminals or use the data themselves. There is no telling what new gadget we will get on our phones, just like there is no telling how they will be used against us.
In cyber security, an effect of major security breaches of computer systems is always followed by an increase in security measures. This holds true for smartphones as well. A feature of Google's Android operating system is its use of SELinux, or Security-Enhanced Linux, since version 4.3 (Android, 2014). This runs every process in a sandboxed environment. Every process and their data is isolated from one another. Though this causes another problem. Third party security programs are also isolated so their effectiveness is greatly reduced compared to desktop computers. Google’s Android operating system has started using an automated malware detection…