Season of Cyber Shopping Raises Concerns About Mobile Security

With Cyber Monday in full swing, it’s apparent that millions of Americans will turn to their smartphones and tablets to find the best deals on gifts and goodies for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.

But the State Department of Consumer Protection is warning mobile shoppers about the potential dangers that lurk in the realm of cyber shopping.

“While smart phones and the Internet can make your holiday shopping faster and easier, there can also be pitfalls if you’re not careful,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said this morning.

Angelo Franks, a mobile security expert and tech journalist, tells MMW that one of the greatest threats this holiday shopping season is the growing inventory of mobile apps infected by and capable of spreading mobile malware.

“Consumers have to be careful about what they download and where they download it from,” Franks says, adding that not enough responsible steps have been taken by ad networks to cut down on the spread of these malicious payloads.

One notable exception is Airpush. The second largest mobile ad network for Android recently partnered with Appthority for the purpose of integrating its mobile security technology into the Airpush platform. As a result, all advertiser app promotions and URLs are now scanned, thereby removing the possible threat of malware across Airpush’s vast network of more than 50,000 apps.

While Airpush has worked hard to raise the bar on mobile security standards, not all players in the world of mobile ad networks are rushing to be as responsible. As a result, consumers are encouraged to be guarded in their downloading of apps in the coming weeks.

The National Consumers League estimates that more than half of all U.S. wireless users now have smartphones and 45 million routinely use shopping and eCommerce-related apps.