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The top 5 worst attacks on mobile devices in 2012

Fake apps steal personal info and send costly text messages

We have not yet experienced a massive worldwide hacker attack on smartphones, but the threats we saw in 2012 have still had an impact on many people. Android users have to be particularly cautious:

1. SMSZombie

About 500,000 Chinese-speaking Android users have been affected by this scam: a malicious and complex Trojan virus stored in the app SMSZombie. When it was installed, it could send expensive text messages to China's mobile online payment system, steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.

2. Angry Birds: Space

A new version of the popular game was released in the spring and hackers took benefit from it by making a fake copy of the app for Android. The fake app identified as Andr / KongFu-L was  found in unofficial Android app stores and was able to communicate with a remote server to download and install malware on the infected smartphone. Make sure you only download apps from Android Market, and pay extra attention to what permissions you give the app.

3. FakeInst

A malicious code that existed in fake popular apps like Instagram, Opera browser and Skype, and sends premium SMS messages to expensive phone numbers. Much of the malware that was discovered in 2012 belonged to the FakeInst family. There are examples all over the world, but the majority are located in Russia. FakeInst is like many other fake apps mostly downloaded from third-party app stores, which do not have the same security restrictions as Google Play or App Store.

4. SuperBatteryCharger

This fake app, which should extend the life of your mobile's battery, but instead sent expensive texting messages away, also hit the UK in the spring. It hid in push ads on popular apps, and managed to do quite some damage before the warning was sent out. The app requested the right to send and read text messages, and that should be a warning signal, for there is no reason why a battery-prolonging app should be able to do that.

5. LuckyCat

LuckyCat is the name of a vicious campaign that hit both Windows and Mac OS users, primarily in India and Japan's energy and aerospace industry, but also Tibetan activists were the target. It was a spyware program that Chinese hackers were behind, and they also received widespread malware for Android platform via infected apps. When an infected app was installed, a 'backdoor' opened so confidential information from the phone could be stolen.

 Kevin Freij

Kevin Freij is CEO of MyMobileSecurity. Founded in 2009, MyMobileSecuirty develops and sells security apps for smartphones. The apps MYMobileProtection and MYAndroid Protection has more than 6 million downloads and get more than 100,000 new subscribers a week. MYMobileSecurity collaborate with more than 60 teleoperators around the world and is soon launching a new security app for kids with smartphones called MYMobile Family Protection. See more on www.mymobilesecurity.com

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