With the recent surge in fake apps tricking consumers out of personal data, experts are warning that manufacturers and developers of mobile devices need to make security a top priority in the design process to mitigate the serious risks posed by hackers.

As recently as last month, numerous consumers fell foul of a fake Netflix app that infiltrated devices via a trojan allowing hackers to secretly spy on conversations, use the camera and microphone, and access contacts and messages.

Jason Fry is a cybersecurity specialist at pav.co.uk.  He has worked with numerous corporate and independent businesses across the UK helping them to review and update their cybersecurity policies, procedures and solutions.  He said:

"The rise in fake apps, particularly those purporting to be from recognisable brands, has brought a new level of scam potential for cybercriminals with millions of people being duped out of confidential data such as bank details and passwords.

"Whilst the fraudsters are constantly refining and improving the ways to trick unsuspecting targets, one of the main problems is the vulnerability of the devices themselves, which aren't designed with security as a primary concern."

And as mobile and tablet usage now officially exceeds that of PCs and laptops, the problem is teetering on the edge of a colossal cybersecurity fallout.  Jason says this could result in ever increasing issues with apps that are available to download from reputable stores but, once installed, upload vicious malware or fool targets into entering personal information, bank account details and passwords.

Jason continued:

"As an industry, we are well aware of the risks of cybercrime.  There is a great deal of knowledge available, which developers should be tapping into in order to improve the security efficiency of their products and limit attacks.  Developers could be doing more to educate consumers about the importance of security and should be creating products that have security as a core feature."

Jason's advice to those using smart phones and tablets is to always ensure they are protected from hacks and viruses with a reliable piece of security software.

"Unfortunately, the vast majority of smartphones and tablets remain unprotected, which makes them easy targets for fraudsters.  To minimise the risk of an attack, I'd recommend that you invest in a good quality piece of antivirus software from a reputable provider, such as Norton, that is suitable for the make of device."

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