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Sunday, July 24, 2011

MOBILE BANKING ALERT: Don’t bank on your phone!


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Guardian / The Hindu / July 23, 2011.

Experts say the mobile phone industry is not fit for financial transactions, and there is no assurance of security with modern smartphones. File photo
Experts say the mobile phone industry is not fit for financial transactions, and there is no assurance of security with modern smartphones. File photo - AP.

No one knows who lies behind Zeus. Security experts believe he or she is Russian, but no one is completely sure. But what they all agree is that Zeus is the most pernicious “trojan horse” — a destructive programme disguised as an application — on the internet. During the last four years it has infected millions of PCs, taking control of the computer and stealing personal banking details.
Microsoft has fought a running battle against Zeus, which is one of the most difficult types of malware to detect — but the great fear among cybercrime experts is no longer your home computer. A new strain of Zeus, dubbed “Zitmo” (it stands for “Zeus in the mobile“) has begun to exploit a huge hole in personal banking security: the smartphone in your pocket.
‘Android is fraudster’s heaven’
In the past fortnight, this malicious new version of Zeus, which attacks phones using the Android operating system, has sparked intense concern among security companies. One major U.S. internet security provider, Trusteer, claimed Google Android is “fraudsters’ heaven”. The chief executive of Trusteer, Mickey Boodaei, said in a blog: “Bad news: fraudsters have all the tools they need to effectively turn mobile malware into the biggest customer security problem we’ve ever seen.” But it’s not just Zeus that smartphone customers should be worrying about, according to Alex Fidgen of MWR InfoSecurity, one of the biggest cybercrime-busting outfits in Britain. It legally hacks into computers to test and improve security. More recently it has turned its attention to smartphones and found that it can crack open every new handset it sees.

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How Trojans enter smartphones

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Risks of mobile banking
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Anti-virus on smartphone
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Zeus top security threat
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How to stay secure
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