Smartphone hackers get smarter; you should too - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Smartphone hackers get smarter; you should too

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(NBC) -- Internet security experts suddenly know more about the way hackers are getting access to your smartphone, but still don't have software to prevent it.

Security experts, who figured it was just a matter of time before hackers gain access to smartphones, now say that time has arrived with a vengeance.

"10-15,000 a day perhaps. We have a financial motivation, these guys have figured out how to take phones and turn them into money," said Bob Sullivan, technology writer for NBCNews.com.

Sullivan had a security researcher at Symantec show him how a hacker hijacks an innocent-looking app.

An application that you end up downloading to your phone, unaware that you're giving the hacker as much control over the phone as you have.

"So the game is all about getting you to install a piece of software that's malicious and then they can do whatever you can do with your phone anywhere on the planet," said Sullivan.

The hacker is basically doing business using your identity, but collecting the proceeds, which can be lucrative, as Symantec found in the case it recently uncovered.

"He was doing so about 25,000 times a day. Even if he was making fractions of a dollar, we estimate that he was making well over a million dollars per year," said Vikram Thakur, Symantec security researcher.

Sullivan says the hacking is almost exclusively with phones with Android operating systems, because unlike iPhones that only download apps from the Apple store, the Android-based phones can download from anywhere.  

"Right now if you're using Android, only get apps from the Google Playstore," Sullivan suggested.

And quit treating your smartphone as if it is as protected as your PC.

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