Smart Phones Susceptible

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Technology Review has a new article showing just how careful smart phone users need to be in the future.

The smart phone is quickly becoming an indispensable journalism tool that allows thousands of journalists to do things ranging from rapidly communicating with one another to recording video or audio for stories. But like knives, saws or hammers, tools can also end up harming those who use them.

The problem lies in how new the phone technology is in a general sense. Serious, wide-spread security issues have never been that large of a problem before. This, coupled with the technology's growing popularity, is creating interest in the hacking/spamming/malware community. While the phones do have quite a few built-in defenses, a stray app or two can be all that is needed to open up the floodgates to infection.

If the phone becomes infected one of the prevalent fears is that it will become part of a botnet, a group of devices working together to spread spam and other malicious activity by receiving instructions from a central location and obeying them like a "zombie," the user completely unaware. Since this infection leaves very few clues about its presence it can be a costly problem for many people who use their phones for secure activity (i.e. bank transfers). Imagine the problems a journalist might face if a contact list of confidential sources is leaked to the public or put on the Internet for any to see.

Unfortunately, with shiny new tools come important responsibilities. Users of these technologies need to be aware, be safe and be smart about what they do with their wireless devices. At this stage of the Technological Age "I didn't know" can no longer fly.

Photo credit: Creative Commons


Maddie Boswell January 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

I agree! Many new security issues have come to be after the frequent use of smart phones as journalism tools. I think another issue is that with the growing technology many journalists have published news faster using devices such as smart phones. In connection with getting the news out faster comes a risk of conveying it inaccurately too.

Amanda Hintgen January 26, 2011 at 10:04 AM  

Although there are viruses that can affect smart phones and access personal or confidential information there are still viruses that can affect computers and can cause just as many problems with security. For example it is rumored that there is a texting virus which can cause multiple problems with everyday functins of the phone. This is similar to a virus that could corrupt your computer's ability to function.

KatieSchober January 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM  

I would love to find information about whether or not the incidence of hacking on PCs is down with the arrival of smartphones. If it is, I also wonder what new technology will distract hackers and spammers from their current projects. It is not clear to me whether there is a relatively static population of hackers and spammers, or if the population grows with each new technological implement.

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