Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It is exciting to be back after that brief hiatus. Welcome back readers and kudos to the Editor and the Management for giving us back our bullhorn.
Within the brief period we were away much has happened in the ICT security world.
One major development that you could not have missed is how important our phones have become.

Criminals have realized that the data in your phone is intrinsically more valuable than the phone itself. This is because your mobile phone has become ‘smart’ and has morphed into a portable computer among other devices. This is called convergence.
This has spawned an increasing number of attacks targeted at our phones. Your contacts, M-Pesa and banking details are increasingly sought after.

Basically your phone is now your computer, television, diary, photo album, bank, ATM and many other functions. If your phone can do all these things, and more, it is only sensible that you protect it. The problem is that we all know we need security software for our personal computers, but how many of us have protection for our phones.

So as to appreciate why you need this protection we shall examine the mobile phone threats that exist out there in this article and the near future.
At the start of 2010 the first real and genuine threat to the mobile phone was reported. This was the Zeus virus that was designed to steal banking details of mobile phone banking users.

Since then attacks on mobile phones have increased in complexity and frequency. One of the most potent threats to your mobile phone today is the Bot attack. A Bot is a program that allows an attacker to gain complete control of your phone and renders it a zombie or robot (hence the term Bot).

Apart from stealing your banking or M-Pesa details, Bots can do other insidious things like listening to your calls or sending SMS messages to those numerous SMS based competitions. They can also make surreptitious calls without your knowledge. Ever wondered why your phone intermittently gets hot or your credit balance has unusually gone down?

Your phone gets infected through chain sms messages, downloaded songs/videos and by visiting pornographic websites with your phone.

The mobile phone Bot business model is surprisingly quite solid. There exist Bot herders who co-ordinate infections and then hire out these zombies (infected phones) to cyber criminals to use as a route to fleece unsuspecting victims.

It makes logical sense that the so called Kamiti phone criminals who are currently engaged in rudimentary M-Pesa fraud and sending out of phishing sms messages will want to expand their businesses by graduating to Bot attacks.

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