As smartphones become even smarter, they are going to attract more and more attention from attackers, spammers and others looking to take control of the billions of mobile devices in use today, the head of Google’s Android security team said. In a talk at the USENIX Security symposium Wednesday, Rich Cannings acknowledged the danger that malware and other security threats pose to Android phones as well as other smartphones, Computerworld reports.

Cannings is hardly the first to forward the notion of smartphones becoming an attractive target for attackers. The proliferation of BlackBerrys, iPhones, Android phones and Windows Mobile devices has made that a virtual inevitability. But his remarks are probably the most candid and open on the topic from any of the big players involved in smartphone development. As Robert McMillan reports:

“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.

Microsoft’s Windows operating system is the prime target of criminal attacks, 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.

But the large storage capacity available on some of these devices now, combined with their ability to run full applications and the somewhat lower security bar some of the mobile operating systems have make smartphones natural targets.

Categories: Web Security