There are two methods that scammers use to do their
dirty business over phone or mobile lines -- smart phones, such
as mobile, and the more PC-like phones and regular land lines.
What it is: Threats using smart phones
have already been realized in places such as Europe and Japan, according
to David Marcus, security research and communications manager for
McAfee Avert Labs. While prevalence is currently low in the United
States, he says an increase is "something to expect eight or
nine months down the road" thanks to a majority of mobile phones
adopting fewer mobile platforms such as the Symbian OS.
As mobile phones
become more PC-like and as people start doing more office work and financial transactions
from their mobile phones, malware will start appearing, he says.
|Later this year, threats that
use smart phones to launch malware attacks may emerge.
One of those attacks, called "smishing,"
involves phishing with SMS text messages. A smishing
message ultimately tries to lure users to a Web
site where they unintentionally download malware.
|Here, McAfee's VirusScan Mobile software catches a smishing
courtesy of McAfee Avert Labs.|
In a smishing attack, the user may receive an SMS message
saying he or she has been subscribed to a dating service. To escape
unwanted charges, the user must unsubscribe by going to a Web site,
which is named in the message.
then gets on his or her computer and goes to the Web site. To unsubscribe, the
user must download an unregistration utility. The actual download contains bot
What you can do: Watch
out for smishing scams.
Don't store credit card or confidential
information on your mobile device if you don't need it, says Marcus. Consider
your smart phone a small PC and guard it as such.
really concerned, you might also consider getting mobile security software to
protect your smart phone against the latest threats. Companies such as Symantec
offer such products.
What is it: Experts say voice phishing
attacks, otherwise known as vishing attacks, may not increase this
year, but that it's a good idea to watch out for any unsolicited
calls, automated or otherwise, that ask for account or personal
information. Instead, politely hang up and call the company back
using a phone number from a statement or card.
Also watch for Spit
(spam over internet telephony), which Marcus says may emerge in 2007.
What you can do: Besides
vishing, attacks using VoIP remain largely unexplored territory,
but simply understand that any automated telephone call or call
from a relay operator could be a scam, no matter what your caller
ID reads. Read the Bankrate feature, "New
scam to vatch for: vishing" to learn more about how scammers
use VoIP for their schemes.
||6 types of Internet scams on the prowl: