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IEEE Warns Cell Phone Users about Free Apps

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is warning cell phone users against relying too heavily on free apps, predicting that 2012 will see an upsurge in cell phone hacking through the use of these small programs users can download. Jeffrey Voas, an IEEE Fellow, has conducted research to determine the extent of the problem. According to his results, for every 100 free mobile apps available, one of them contains malware.

These results only include malware that Voas was able to detect. “It’s easy to be victimized,” Voas explained, pointing out that there are more than 2,000 apps currently available infected with one form of malware or another. These apps are used on smartphones, a category that contains some electronics other than cell phones, which currently account for about one-fifth of the market for mobile devices.

Voas went on to explain the damage that malware-infested free apps can wreak, saying that they can result in “hackers accessing all of the information stored on your phone and transmitting it within two to three seconds.” Since the information can contain financial data as well as personal data related to your calendar and contacts, cell phone users should proceed with great caution when downloading free apps.

As more people acquire smart phones, malware scanners and other software solutions will likely arise. In the meantime, whenever you recycle used cell phone and purchase a new one, be careful about the apps you choose to download.