Once again, we are reminded of just what a double-edged sword the Internet can be.
Malicious software programs, called “malware,” the scourge of good and decent Internet users everywhere, have morphed into a new generation of tools for thieves seeking to grab sensitive data from your cell phone. According to The Wall Street Journal, malware programs like “Acecard” and “GM Bot” now exist for the specific purpose of aiding “cyberthieves” in their efforts to steal your banking log-in information when you access your accounts from your mobile phone.
According to the Journal, while it is difficult to know how much money has actually been stolen through the application of the malware programs…because once the log-in credentials have been grabbed from the phone, the bank account(s) can be accessed later from any device…the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is concerned enough to sound the alarm.
Although it is getting practically impossible to thwart the installation of the malware simply by being a smart user of one’s devices, considering how cleverly the programs are designed, it’s always good to remember that most of this stuff still finds its way into your operating systems because of something you do that’s slightly out of the ordinary. For example, as the Journal article points out, this malware typically gets on a phone because the user saw fit to actually click on a text message that showed up from an unknown sender, or tapped on an advertisement.
While we are probably past the point, as a tech culture, of being able to live by hard and fast rules about how we use our cell phones, remember that you should be especially wary of being terribly “adventurous” when it comes to how you use your phone, particularly if you do use it for engaging in sensitive transactions. Although anti-malware programs for phones are available, most don’t think to install them or keep them up to date, and there’s also some debate within the tech community about how well such programs even work on phones.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large