Criminals use new schemes to hack into smart phones - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Criminals use new schemes to hack into smart phones

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Leanne Karlgut had no idea her phone had a virus, until one day in the middle of a quiet auditorium when she received a song.

"My phone started singing a song and the song had a couple of curse words in it and there's no way I could make it stop," Karlgut said.

Our investigation found cyber criminals are trying to attack our phones and tablets at an alarming rate.

McAfee Labs says there was a 600 percent increase in the number of mobile malware threats it found from 2011 to 2012.

Cyber security expert George Waller estimates nearly fifty percent of all smart phones and tablets are already infected.

"As more people are using the phone for both their personal use and their business use, the malware writers are viewing that as a good spot to hit you," Waller said.
 
People often have no idea they've been hit.

Some vicious viruses install key logging software which allows crooks to record every text or email you write and every password you enter.

Another prediction for 2013, an increase in mobile ransomware. That's where the malware hijacks and freezes your device until you pay a fee.

If you use a mobile wallet app, some experts worry when you "tap and pay", using your phone, criminals could intercept that short wave radio chip transmission, which sends your credit card info from the phone to a retailer.

There's also a way for crooks to program a smart phone to pick up chip signals directly from a credit card and you wouldn't have a clue.

The Wireless Trade Association says with all these growing tactics, the battle never ends for companies to stay ahead of cyber crooks.

Analysts say you can stay ahead of the bad guys by:

-downloading updates for apps and your device's operating system

-never clicking on any links that look suspicious

Experts say your wireless device could be infected with malware if it runs very slowly, or if there's a tremendous amount of texts being sent from your phone.

Contact your wireless provider if you think you have a problem.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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