Data security and privacy are often thought of as pertaining only to internet-connected devices, such as PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
According to a recent Internet Retailing report, however, data security is an issue for mobile phones as well – and not just smartphones that are connected to the internet.
The report cited a study by AdaptiveMobile that found a dramatic increase in marketing messages being sent via SMS to mobile phone users during the past 10 months.
According to the report, new cyber crime attempts involved increasingly advanced methods of targeting mobile phone users.
The report noted that the degree of sophistication of these attacks ranges from the very simple to the truly complex. A simple attack may involve a fraudulent missed call alert or SMS informing the recipient that he or she has won a prize. The user is told to call a premium-rates number in order to claim the prize.
More complex forms of mobile cyber crime utilize smartphone functionality by convincing users to click on a link that can result in the transfer of viruses or malware.
AdaptiveMobile's data indicates that the company blocks an average of 1.6 million unwanted incoming SMS messages per month for a single network operator group. Approximately 60 percent of these are spam, according to the report.
The report claimed that the personal nature of mobile phones causes many people to place too much trust in the devices. "If recipients receive an SMS message, many click on it without a second thought, which is all it takes for the fraudulent activity to begin," the report noted. "Whilst some mobile operators are working to combat these threats at a network level, users also need to play their part if they’re to stay safe in an increasingly mobile world."
Data security for mobile phones is now an issue for the majority of the world's population. According to the United Nations telecommunications agency, the number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide now exceeds 4.6 billion.