Security experts have warned for years that our smartphones are due for a major cyberattack. Like PCs back in the early days — the 1990s — mobile phones are largely unprotected by antivirus software, and they’re a treasure trove of valuable information.
So why hasn’t the smartphone Armageddon happened yet?
Basic economics is one reason. Cyberthieves are making so much money attacking Windows PCs that there hasn’t been much incentive to change tactics. It’s hard to track down exact statistics on how much money is stolen each year through cyberattacks, but most security experts put the dollar figure in the billions. One single, recent hack that Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500)investigated — debit card numbers stolen from merchants through secretly installed keyloggers —resulted in a loss of $20 million.
Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows is still the low-hanging fruit. With 92% share of the PC market and a two-thirds share of all Internet-connected devices, Windows is the obvious target to attack if you’re a hacker looking to make money.
We’re about to hit a tipping point, though. Most people still do their online banking and shopping on their PCs, but those transactions are happening on mobile phones more frequently. Where money goes, cyber crooks follow.
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