Thought that the sleek and flashy little smartphone you currently hold in your hands in the answer to getting away from the nasty world of malware that has been plaguing PCs in all shapes and sizes? Well, you could not have been further from the truth; apparently, word has it that Japan is now facing what appears to be the first confirmed case of a trojan gaining access to stored data on a smartphone, and that this problem is only set to become worse as the popularity of such devices continues to grow.
Smartphones are supposed to be inherently safer than PCs when it comes to having to deal with nasty stuff such as malware, right? After all, most consumers would rationalize that since virtually no smartphone on the market today runs on Windows, they should theoretically be safe from the likes of virus and trojans that plague the entire Windows ecosystem.
Unfortunately for consumers, it seems that their idea of a completely malware-free ecosystem for smartphones and their accompanying operating systems is about to come to an abrupt end. Apparently, industrial sources have confirmed that Japan is the latest entry in a long list of countries to have officially confirmed the existence of malware-infected smartphones, and are warning that such malware could potentially become widespread within the country.
According to a report published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, the malware that was discovered in Japan is believed to have originated from a popular app known as Isshoni Training: Training with Hinako, which features an anime character giving "demonstrations on proper muscle training techniques". Apparently, the pirated copy of the app contains a trojan which, when installed, allows an outsider to gain access to a user's private information such as location data, phone book contacts and email messages, as well as making remote phone calls.
The Yomiuri Shimbun also quoted security research firm Symantec as claiming that the number of smartphone malware infections in Japan is set to increase, simply because the common platform offered by the operating systems used to power the handsets makes it easy for programmers to design malware that can target a wide range of devices, both domestically and globally. However, conventional mobile phones are not affected, simply because they make use domestically-developed technology which is incompatible with mobile systems found in other parts of the world.
That being said, if it is of any consolation, there are no known reports of hackers actually making use of the aforementioned trojan-infected app to actively steal and exploit sensitive data from consumers for their own personal gain. Still, if anything, this report will probably serve as a very good wake-up call to consumers who are still under the impression that their smartphones are happily living in the La-la Land of cyberspace.
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun