The rising popularity of smartphones like the BlackBerry Pearl, Apple iPhone and Palm Centro may soon make them juicy targets for steenkin’ spam and pesky viruses. Not the first time this has been mentioned, but smartphones have never been more popular.
Speaking to The Times today, Neil Cook, technology services VP of security services firm Cloudmark, reckoned that as soon as the penetration of smartphones hits 20 per cent upwards then they may start to become beguiling targets for hackers and virus writers.
Arguing that it was simple matter of economics, Cook commented that, “Spammers are really very good businessmen. They see new opportunities and new markets. As new media becomes attractive to spammers, they move in there. They will move anywhere if they can make a return on investment.”
Although the Internet has been the traditional hunting ground of scammers, spammers and virtual ne’er do wells, the phenomenal growth of mobile phones means that there’s a serious world of opportunity opening up there for the bad guys.
Mobile spam has already become a problem in India and China, and us poor blighters in Europe – as well as our American cousins – are expected to follow.
Analyst bods Gartner calculate that 32.2 million smartphones were sold in the first three months of this year, adding up to a significant 11 per cent of all handset sales and up a hefty 29 per cent on the same period last year.
The company forecasts that there will be four billion mobiles compared with 1.3 billion computers by 2010, a figure massive enough to surely get spammers cackling with evil intent, but Carole Theriault, senior security consultant for computer security company Sophos, was quick to point out that the relatively higher costs of sending out SMS spam compared to e-mail spam may restrict growth.