Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Inexpensive Smart Phones Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, October 31 2012

Image from the Mozilla blog

Low cost smartphone has become something of a buzzword in the handset world this year. Androids are are already selling for $150, with China set to release a clone for domestic use that is priced at $50. Meanwhile, Mozilla has announced the 2013 launched of an open source Firefox phone that will sell for $100.

Currently, about 75 percent of the world population owns a mobile phone, with smartphones making up only 12 percent. Amongst the poor in the developing world, or emerging markets, a low cost handset without Internet access is the most common, but with the exponential growth of low cost handsets this situation is going to change. Cisco reports that smartphone use tripled in 2011, while Mashable posits that smartphones are growing faster than any technology in history.

TechPresident has reported extensively on how mobile phones are changing society, from expediting urbanization to information gathering to political engagement.

But there is a downside to the proliferation of low cost smartphones. According to a recent report by CNN, they are vulnerable to malware attacks because they lack some security features that are found in higher cost handsets.

This past March security researchers at the Black Hat Europe event found that Android was still the mobile platform on which malware has thrived most. While both Apple ... and Google both charge app developers a fee to create apps, researchers have argued that the Android fee of just $25 — compared to the $99 for iOS — makes it a low-cost option for hackers as well.

With the number of smartphones projected to increase from 4.5 million to 311.0 by 2016, there will be a lot of opportunity for malicious hackers.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

More