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    USA Today: Cybercrooks use Web apps to infiltrate smartphones

    USA Today reports on the problem of hackers attacking smartphone applications (such as those available for iPhones or Google Android phones) and gathering consumers’ personal data:

    Hackers are adapting tried-and-true computer infections to work on Internet-enabled smartphones that are all the rage with consumers.

    Global smartphone shipments topped 54 million in the first three months this year, a 57% jump from a year ago, according to research firm IDC.

    The cyberunderground took notice. Download the wrong wallpaper app for your Google Android phone and you could get one that will harvest the phone and voice-mail numbers and data that can be used to disclose your location. Mobile security firm Lookout discovered 80 such Android Web apps last week, which have since been taken down by Google, says John Hering, Lookout’s CEO.

    The information was being transmitted to a website based in China. The wallpapers, showing innocuous images of ponies, basketball scenes and such, were downloaded more than a million times. […]

    [Mikko Hypponen, senior researcher at Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure,] says smartphone Web app infections are still rare. There are some 40 million known malicious programs for Internet-connected computers vs. less than 600 for smartphones, he says. […]

    The richest target remains consumer and commercial banking and other accounts that run on Windows XP computers, still the most widely used device to access the Internet. However, as much more secure Windows 7 PCs begin to replace older XP machines, cybercriminals inevitably will turn to smartphones and mobile devices such as the iPad.

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