Ever since the mobile phones have included web browsing technologies, they were a major hit among users. The latest smartphones have even put mobile users a step ahead with exclusive features like online shopping, downloading, video streaming, social networking, mobile applications, email, and even document editing and sharing.

Recently, a report (by Conductor) said that smartphone ownership increased roughly 58% during the year 2010 (from 17% in 2009 to nearly 27% in 2010). The 2010 holiday shopping saw a 300% increase from mobile users (to 5 high-traffic e-commerce sites). It has even reached to the point that mobile email usage rises while web-based email declines (according to comScore). There are now more than 7 million mobile internet users in the UK according to Nielsen. That compares with more than 40 million in the US. Social networking is also big and growing at higher pace in mobile segment. According to comscore, nearly 58 million mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site at least monthly via mobile device as of December 2010.

Now you see the size of this segment of users, connected to Internet. No doubt it is attracting more and more marketers towards mobile marketing, but is it just marketers who are getting attracted?

We now see a new trend in malware, emerging – the smartphone malware. In fact it has already grown to a frightening level. Cyber criminals are now targeting smartphone users with new malware. After-all it is on operating systems that smartphones run on; and the more the features, the increased are the vulnerabilities. Moreover, you can’t deal with unwanted files and folders or afford installing a security solution easily in a smartphone, like in case of a computer. In the present scenario it is not easy prevent, check for or get rid of malware in your smartphones. You connect yourselves to Internet (which is a wild-west today) with these vulnerabilities, thereby increasing the chances of your mobile being affected.

A recent report from McAfee shows that mobile malware threats increased by 46% in 2010, from the year before. The Zeus genre Trojan Zitmo (Zeus In The Mobile) is on the stands for the smartphone users. This was created on basis of an old spyware commercial package but is very potent in terms of cyber crime activities. Android/Gemini, created for Google Android users, is another such malware inserted into legitimate mobile applications and games and is often spread to infect.

Many popular companies like Kaspersky, Symantec, McAfee, Eset have already evolved with mobile security solutions. Even the updates of virus definitions are available regularly. The installation is little complex to handle for non-tech savvy people. Must say that the security solutions for mobile segment are not as rapid in terms of evolution as it is in case of malware. Lack of awareness on malware and security solutions is the major weakness among smartphone users and helping attackers to exploit smartphones much easily.

So, if you think using smartphone for accessing Internet, emails and downloading applications is cool, beware of the threat lurking in and make it a point to install a suitable security solution. And if you are planning to buy one, you must consider the feasibility of installing a security solution in it.

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