Facebook on your mobile could give you a virus

Viruses on mobiles likely to increase
Viruses on mobiles likely to increase

A new report from the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) has highlighted the security dangers of using social network sites, the most obvious being Facebook and Twitter, with the threat the greatest when accessing the sites from a mobile phone.

The report, which Enisa will be putting online when it's published, highlights a number of examples where malware has been used on social networking sites for such crimes as identity theft.

Although it admits that "there is not yet any known mobile malware propagation, this kind of social network can send especially crafted software directly to mobile phones, using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features in mobile phones to propagate."

Golden rules

In other words, it's just a matter of time before viruses start spreading through mobiles, and the report also points out threat of corporate data leakages as more vital information is stored on smartphones.

The Enisa report has 17 'golden rules' to help people stay safe. Most are just common sense, such as paying attention to what you post and upload, using the privacy setting properly on social networking sites, and reporting lost or stolen mobiles immediately.

One or two, though, go a little further, such as disabling location-based services on your mobile unless you need them and always reading the privacy policies of social networking sites to ensure you're fully aware of all the risks posed by using your mobile to access such services.

The iPhone has been a high profile example of such exploitation - a self-propagating worm took advantage of jailbroken devices to send pictures without consent, highlighting the danger posed.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.