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Malware Is Coming To A Smartphone Near You

It was only a matter of time, really: Security specialists say criminals are getting closer to large-scale distribution of viruses and other bad code onto mobile devices.

What’s the Latest Development?

Security experts are reporting that criminals will soon be able to distribute malware on smartphones and tablets in an efficient and profitable way. Researcher Chris Astacio says that one thing blocking the spread is the lack of a reliable distribution model, since both Apple and Google — the gates through which almost all mobile apps must pass — screen out malicious code before it has a chance to get to users. However, evildoers may end up using Web pages instead: One common delivery system used for sending viruses to laptops and desktops is now targeting smartphones and tablets through their mobile browsers.

What’s the Big Idea?

One of the big selling points of tablets in particular was that they didn’t require regularly scheduled software updates. That’s going to have to change if companies want to protect their customers from malware, says Lookout co-founder Kevin Mahaffey, who cites Microsoft Update — designed to protect Windows OS users — as the model that Apple and Google will probably have to follow. Currently neither iOS nor Android offer consistent software updates because, according to Astacio, “[it’s] a business decision they don’t want to have to make.”

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Read it at MIT Technology Review


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