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China's mobile phone users main target for hackers

Last updated on: April 6, 2012 15:14 IST

China's mobile phone users main target for hackers

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K J M Varma in Beijing


C
hina's over billion mobile phones users could become the "main target" for hacker attacks, an official network security report said.

Mobile phone users in China, the largest in the world, will be hackers' main target in the future, China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team said.

About 7.12 million Internet-capable smart phones were infected with malicious programs in 2011 and the number has been increasing rapidly, it said.

The team found and terminated 6,249 malicious programs last year, more than twice as many as in 2010, it said.

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Image: Smartphones are displayed in a mobile phone store in Taipei.
Photographs: Pichi Chuang/Reuters

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Hackers often designed software and applications to destroy mobile phone systems to get users' personal information, taking remote control of them and stealing bank account information or passwords, the report said.

More than 1,317 of the malicious programs were used to charge cell phone users fraudulent fees, the report said, adding that it is hackers' source of money.

According to the report, Nokia's Symbian and Google's Android mobile phone systems were targeted by hackers last year and the number of malicious applications aimed at the latter continues to grow.

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Photographs: Will Burgess/Reuters
Tags: , Google , China , Nokia

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Aside from mobile phones, social websites and online forums, which collect significant user information, have also become easy prey for hackers, the report said.

Hackers take advantage of poor network security to steal users' information and then sell their "booty" to transaction websites, which causes serious losses to netizens, the report said.

"Nowadays, almost everyone has a cell phone mainly used for surfing the Internet, which offers hackers tremendous financial opportunities," said Wang Minghua, deputy director of the operation department in the team.

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Image: A Chinese customer talks on his mobile phone outside a China Mobile branch in Beijing.
Photographs: Claro Cortes IV/Reuters

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Meanwhile, the Chinese government has announced that it is drafting instructions for business houses on how to collect online information.

Guidelines will be released this year instructing businesses to collect personal information only when absolutely necessary and to delete it immediately after use.

The non-binding guidelines, designed to protect online personal data, are pending final approval of Cabinet, state-run China Daily reported.

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Image: A customer looks at a mobile phone display.
Photographs: Bob Strong/Reuters

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Private information includes identity, property interests, family data, e-mails, browser history and search behavior, Qi Xiangdong, president of Qihoo 360 Technology Co, an online security software maker said.

China's Internet population has hit 513 million, the largest in the world, according to a China Internet Network Information Center report in January.

Image: Android mascots are lined up in the demonstration area at the Google I/O Developers Conference.
Photographs: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

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