Hackers targeting smartphones and social notworking

Insecurity outfit Symantec said that hackers are targeting smartphones as a soft target with shedloads of unprotected data.

In its Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec describes a “massive” volume of more than 286 new computer threats on the internet last year, continued growth in attacks at online social networks.

The insecurity outfit said that this year there was a “a notable shift in focus” by hackers to mobile gear.

All the major mobile platforms are ubiquitous enough to garner the attention of attackers.

The hackers’ tool of choice is to create poisoned Apps. These are Apps which are based on legitimate code but have malware coded under the bonnet. The biggest victim of these have been Android users so far.

Symantec reports also indicated that criminal gangs were infiltrating news-feed capabilities at popular social networking services to “mass-distribute” attacks.

The basic plan is to hack into one person’s account and then send their mates links to dodgy sites.

Symantec said that social network platforms continue to grow in popularity and this popularity has, unsurprisingly, attracted a large volume of malware.

Another cause for alarm is the number of company or government computer networks that have been turned over by hackers researching key employees and then duping them or colleagues into enabling access to protected networks.

This year has also seen the rise of “hacktivists” such as the group “Anonymous” and the increase of the use of hacking with political goals.

Symantec Security Technology and Response senior vice president Stephen Trilling said that Stuxnet and Hydraq represented true incidents of cyberwarfare and have fundamentally changed the threat landscape.

He said that the world of Internet security has expanded from dealing with targetting of bank accounts to hitting the information and physical infrastructure of nation states.