Expect your iPhone and iPad to be targeted by malicious hackers! At least that’s what McAfee says. The company has just made this jaw-dropping assertion in a release via its Web site. McAfee specifically calls out dubious activities such as checking in virtually via location-based services, tweeting links with shortened URLs, and otherwise having a social media presence online.
Apparently evil-doers have now identified these Internet platforms, devices, and mobile software apps as being legitimate targets. Of course, this should not come as a real shocker to anyone who’s owned any technology within the past decade.
The first threat is the growing use of shortened URLs which, according to McAfee, makes it easier for scamming sites to mask exactly where their links are pointing, be it a delivery system for viruses or fake banks after your private account info. McAfee also warns that location-aware services such as FaceBook and Foursquare broadcast an unprecedented level of your personal data like exact physical whereabouts and what your interests are; essentially a stalker’s dream. Also on the list of concerns is the cellular infrastructure as a whole which McAfee calls “fragile” and lacking much in the way of encryption. Another legitimate concern is how your trusted friends can infect you if they themselves have been compromised.
Before you run and throw your Apple or Android device in the trash, consider these helpful and time honored suggestions. The Internet is a public place, and like any location open to the masses, you should be aware of what you say and do. You probably wouldn’t post a sign on your front lawn announcing that no one’s home for two weeks. Neither would you count your Benjamins in the middle of Times Square. The same goes for your sensitive personal business. Sure, that’s getting hard in these days of Twitter and Facebook updates, but a little restraint goes a long way.
For some pointers, the Federal Trade Commission has outlined tips plus links to other helpful sites and resources. Of course, the old street smarts apply: only Friend folks you know and, if it sounds like spam, it probably is. To the weirdos on Twitter asking us to click odd links or talk late at night because you’re lonely: no thanks, pal.