I asked a few different experts in electronic surveillance and cell phone security which of the three most popular smart phones is the safest and which is the worst. The answers were clear and consistent.
1.) On all of them it’s the user that is the root of the problem.
2.) Android has been labeled the worst for malware.
3.) Blackberry is pretty good as it cannot have a virus, but it can propagate worms through its memory chip and emails.
4) iPhones are great until you “unlock” the iPhone with jailbreak or other programs.
All can have programs installed to do whatever the programmer wants the cell phone to do. One just needs to have physical control over the phone and the time and know how to install or write the program.
In the last half of 2011 almost all of the new malware was programmed for the Android Operating System. While Android is on the rise as a target, by far the largest known number of virus – over 75% are for the various Symbian operating systems – for Nokia Phones. iPhones while getting some targeted attacks are still one of the safest phones – unless they have been unlocked.
With more devices there are more threats and the threats depended upon where you are in the world – in the US the attackers are looking or information about , your phone, what you are saying and doing, where in Latin America and the Far East they are looking for banking information.
Some tips – if the phone has been out of your hands for any length of time and you are in a higher risk profession – dump it. If you have a phone given to you as a gift, dump it or sell it to someone else (nothing like screwing up a targeted attacked by giving the device to a teenage girl – they will cream the electronic intruder just in fees and messaging), avoid known problems phones and subscribe to anti virus and malware services – even for the Blackberry and iPhone.
Windows Phone 7 – is still new and looks to be more robust – but it too has been hit by some nasty malware. In December a SMS vulnerability was used allowing hackers to carry out a DOS attack on the victim’s handset. Oddly this occurred just after MS offered free Windows Phone 7 to those who had Android systems that were getting hacked. Windows Phone 7 has not been out quite a year and we are sure it too will be tested by the hackers as it gains popularity.