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Smartphones to become major hacker target

(Robert McMillan, TechWorld) Smartphones are set to become a prime target for criminals according to Google's head of Android security.

"The smartphone OS will become a major security target," said Android Security Leader Rich Cannings, speaking at the Usenix Security Symposium. Attackers can already hit millions of victims with a smartphone attack, and soon that number will be even larger. "Personally I think this will become an epiphany to malware authors," he said.

PCs running Windows are the prime target of criminal attacks today, and hackers have generally steered clear of mobile devices. Security experts say that this is because mobile phones haven't traditionally stored a lot of sensitive data, and because there are so many different devices to attack, it's hard to create a single virus that can infect a large number of users.

That may be changing as more and more people start using iPhones, BlackBerries, and - Google hopes - Android-based phones such as the Samsung I7500.

Google was late to market with an iPhone competitor - G1, the first Android system shipped in October 2008 - but the company hopes to make up ground by making its platform more open and appealing to developers. Android uses open-source components, and Google places fewer restrictions on device makers and application developers than Apple.

 
 
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