Smart phones under growing threat from hackers

Smart phones are under a growing menace from cyber-criminals seeking to hack into web-connected handsets, but the mobile industry has contained the threat so far, AFP reports. Software security firms warned at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that increasingly popular smart phones could face an explosion of virus attacks in the coming years. “Tomorrow we could see a worm on phones [that] would go around the world in five minutes,” said Mikko Hyppoenen, chief research officer at F-Secure, which makes anti-virus software for mobile phones. Security companies, mobile operators, and makers of operating systems so far have found solutions to limit the attacks and delay an onslaught of spam and viruses. “It won’t work forever; eventually we will see the first global outbreak. But we have been able to delay it by more than five years, at least,” he said. The first mobile virus appeared six years ago, and so far F-Secure has detected only 430 mobile worms, compared with millions of computer viruses. Much like the first computer hackers of two decades ago, the people attacking mobile phones have been doing it as a hobby, Hyppoenen said. “It seems that on any new platform, … the first viruses are done by hobbyists just to show off, and then later, more professional money-making criminals move in,” he said…

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Security chip that does encryption in PCs hacked

Deep inside millions of computers is a digital Fort Knox, a special chip with the locks to highly guarded secrets, including classified government reports and confidential business plans. Now a former U.S. Army computer-security specialist has devised a way to break those locks, the Associated Press reports.

The attack can force heavily secured computers to spill documents that likely were presumed to be safe. This discovery shows one way that spies and other richly financed attackers can acquire military and trade secrets, and comes as worries about state-sponsored computer espionage intensify, underscored by recent hacking attacks on Google Inc.

The new attack discovered by Christopher Tarnovsky is difficult to pull off, partly because it requires physical access to a computer. But laptops and smart phones get lost and stolen all the time. And the data that the most dangerous computer criminals would seek likely would be worth the expense of an elaborate espionage operation.…Read More