A new study sponsored by SMobile Systems, a provider of mobile security solutions, has found that Symbian-based smartphones have a high risk of being infected with spyware and malware- in fact, one out of every 63 smartphones are already infected.
The study of 1,958 smartphones revealed infections by Spyware, Viruses Worms and Trojans, as well as hundreds of unlicensed software programs installed on the handsets reviewed. A comparison of these statistics to the worldwide smartphone population places the number of infected devices globally into the millions. Because the vast majority of these infections are designed to be stealthy and the fact that few smartphones posses Anti-Malware applications, most infected users are completely unaware their devices have been compromised.
Similar to the problem computer users have faced for decades, mobile spyware and malware creates an even bigger problem given the fact that mobile devices often times carry much more sensitive and personal information than computers do. In addition, the variety of ways mobile devices send and receive information leaves many doors wide open, so to speak, for hackers to spread their malware. The attacks have taken the form of worms and Trojans that are transmitted via Bluetooth, SMS, MMS, or email, as well as Spyware that is unwantedly being downloaded from various online application and shareware websites.
This raises concerns for the mobile marketing community as it will make consumers much more weary about opening SMS messages, email, Bluetooth connections and other forms of communication from advertisers, even though most will be legitimate. If the problem persists, and especially if other mobile operating systems are compromised, consumers will become very hesitant to interact with anyone other than people they know, making things even more difficult for brands and advertisers looking for personal and targeted ways to interact with consumers.