MEXICO CITY – Your smartphone probably knows more about you than you do. It knows where you are at all times. It knows every person you talk to, and what you’ve said to them. It has your family photos, your pet’s pictures, your passwords and more. For attackers, it’s a digital passport to access everything they would need to know about a person.
And that’s why attacks on smartphones are on the rise, security researchers said.
At the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Mexico, Andrew Blaich, a researcher from mobile security company Lookout, and Eva Galperin, the cybersecurity director from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, presented their findings about Dark Caracal, a global malware campaign targeting mobile devices that’s infected thousands of people in more than 20 countries.
The attack campaign, tracked to a building in Beirut belonging to the Lebanese General Security Directorate, used nearly identical versions of real apps and tricked thousands of people to install it. Once it was on their phones, the attackers had access to everything.
The attack was massive, but it’s just a preview of what’s to come, the researchers said. It’s a reversal of conventional wisdom that pointed to PCs as the most prone to hacks. Attacks on mobile devices are getting easier, they yield a bigger reward and people are using smartphones much more than they use their computers. It’s a no-brainer for a hacker.
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