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[ NNSquad ] Re: [IP] Expensive malware appears for Microsoft's Windows Mobile -- Be very afraid of those who want to make you afraid

I'm suspicious when I read "iPhone security features deter malware". A
"dumb" phone does an even better job. Note that Android lets you decide
whether to give an application access to the ability to place a call.

Isn't the bigger malware the telecom industry which aids and abets such
artificial charges that consume essentially no resources? An industry that
creates $18,000 in charges because you didn't pay $50 for protection (the
data plan)? This is the very same "attack" using modems years ago. And did
we ban the use of modems? Is it worse than Verizon Wireless' bogus "premium
services" (http://rmf.vc/?n=VZ900x)?

Should we also ban astrology applications because they can lead to foolish

Once again we are being scared into accepting paternalistic dependence (and
the associated billable events) in order to avoid synthetic harm. In the
same way we accept wireless scarcity by handing over control of our ability
to communicate to the very companies whose policies and architectures have
created the problem. How many times has the company that purchased ATT's
identity offered to protect us from identity theft?

Imagine if the same policies were applied to the original Mac and third
parties couldn't extend the platform it to support crude multitasking.

Instead of seeing smart phones as fount of innovation we are limiting them
to only applications that aren't disruptive lest they surprise us and thus
assuring they are less likely to delight us.

Let's not let fear define the future! Sure we need to be wary. 

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber [mailto:dave@farber.net] 
Sent: Sunday, June 06, 2010 19:42
To: ip
Subject: [IP] Expensive malware appears for Microsoft's Windows Mobile

Begin forwarded message:

From: the terminal of geoff goodfellow <geoff@iconia.com>
Date: June 5, 2010 2:04:24 PM EDT
To: dfarber@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Expensive malware appears for Microsoft's Windows Mobile
Reply-To: geoff@iconia.com

Malware embedded into legitimate-looking games designed for Windows Mobile
has appeared, automatically dialing up foreign telephone services to ring up
hundreds of dollars in illicit charges for users behind their backs. ...

... Critics have chafed at Apple's secure software signing model and have
praised Google's alternative Android model, which enables users to download
software from any source, without any security model in place, at their own

The appearance of malware on Windows Mobile is particularly interesting
because the motivation of this assault was entirely financial. That being
the case, the fact that the malicious developers targeted Windows Mobile,
which is almost entirely limited to the US and now trails Symbian (42%), RIM
(21%), and Apple's iPhone OS (15%) in market share (9% over the last year),
throws decades of Windows-based punditry on its head because "malicious
supposedly only target the largest platform.

iPhone security features deter malware

Just the fact that Apple has a real security policy in place for iPhone
mobile software in its iTunes App Store serves as a strong deterrent for
rogue developers from even attempting to distribute malicious iPhone OS
software like the tainted games discovered for Windows Mobile.

Jim Finkle, writing for Reuters, claimed that "hackers are increasingly
targeting smartphone users as sales of the sophisticated mobile devices have
soared with the success of Apple Inc's iPhone and Google Inc's Android
operating system," but in reality, any attacks aimed at iPhone users are not
software based expressly because of Apple's strict security policy, and must
be limited to social engineering exploits that prey upon people directly,
rather than infecting their devices with malware.

Android users (just like Mac and Windows users) have no similar security
protection in place, and should be very careful about downloading software,
even from legitimate appearing websites. Unlike desktop malware, which is
somewhat limited in the scope of damage it can cause, mobile malware has the
ability to rapidly run up very expensive mobile bills for weeks before the
user is likely to even notice a problem.



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