Police and security experts are warning that smart-phones could potentially become the number one target for cyber criminals, within the next 5 years.
Hackers are in the process of creating new viruses to by-pass smart-phone security, including current biometric systems.
The virus, dubbed “Trojan Horse” allows cyber-criminals undetected access to a phone’s internals systems.
This has serious ramifications for those who utilise their smart-phones for online banking and apps that require personal information.
Keiron Shepherd, senior security engineer at the world leading cyber security company, F5 Networks, has been analysing the movements of hackers targeting mobile-devices.
He says: “If you just consider the amount of smartphones and the number of people, it’s a great surface area for attackers to go for.
“Windows was the predominate system, it was the path of least resistance for the malware writers. Devices and operating systems which were considered not an issue to be worried about in the past have now become a target for the malware writers.”
One example of a virus monitored by F5 Networks, imbeds in an online advert, infiltrates the device when clicked and monitors every key stroke.
He adds: “The way this virus can insert itself between the applications you’re using before it accesses the internet gives it a chance to extract critical data such as credit card numbers, bank accounts; anything that’s of high value.
“It really is a numbers game. They’ll throw enough malware out there and hope it returns a good investment.”
Police are monitoring an influx of fraud committed against smartphone users.
City of London Police Commander Chris Greany, the national police lead for cyber protection, said: “People who carry a mobile phone are actually carrying a mobile computer.
“It’s not a phone with a computer attached. It’s a computer with a phone attached and it is as risky using this as it is using the desktop at home.”