Consumers are in for a “disruptive year of widespread mobile hacking” thanks to free rogue apps, says IEEE.
The technical association cites research by Dr. Jeffrey Voas that found “malware” in some 2,000 free smartphone apps in the United States. Voas is an IEEE Fellow and a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He estimates that one in 100 free mobile apps have detectable malware. “That doesn’t even account for the ones where the malware is so hidden it's impossible to spot,” he stated in a press release. “This number is growing by the day and with most of these rogue apps offering good functionality for free, it’s easy to be victimized.”
The organization quotes other experts from among its membership saying the public does not realize the threat from our smartphones, as we do with laptops and PCs. But smartphones too contain passwords, authentication info and other important private data.
It quoted Kevin Curran, head of the School of Computing and Intelligence Systems at the University of Ulster, UK, saying smartphone hacking will be an increasing problem for businesses as well as consumers, particularly with more people using a single phone for business and personal purposes. He thinks momentum will build for a formalized “trusted apps” approach in the industry, as more people are victimized.