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As world worries about Heartbleed, experts warn of big threat to smartphones

As world worries about Heartbleed, experts warn of big threat to smartphones

LONDON: While the world worries about the deadly online bug Heartbleed, a new threat has emerged that can cause havoc to our smartphones. 

Heartbleed is jumping between computers but cyber protectors have warned that smartphones will be the next big target - infected with worms that can not only steal personal information from your phone but can also infect your friend's phones. 

All major mobile systems will be affected, including Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone because they all support HTML5-based mobile apps. 

Scanning 2D barcodes, finding free Wi-Fi access points, sending SMS messages, listening to music and watching MP4 videos: these are very common activities that we do using our smartphones.Cyber experts have now warned that the next big virus will hit the smartphone while we indulge in precisely these activities. 

Experts have warned that it is not long before worms like this spread among smartphones. What makes the attacks feasible is an emerging technology called HTML5-based app development, and it has been rapidly gaining popularity in the mobile industry. 

"When the adoption of this technology reaches certain threshold, attacks like this will become quite common, unless we do something to stop it. A recent Gartner report says that by 2016, 50% of the mobile apps will be using HTML5-based technologies," experts said. 

A notorious problem of the HTML5-based technology is that malicious code can be easily injected into the program and get executed. 

That is why the Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attack is still one of the most common attacks in the Web. XSS attacks can only target at web applications through a single channel (the Internet), but with the adoption of the same technology in mobile devices, we have found out that a similar type of attack can not only be launched against mobile apps, it can attack from many channels, including 2D barcode, Wi-Fi scanning, Bluetooth pairing, MP3 songs, MP4 videos, SMS messages, NFC tags and contact lists.
As long as an HTML5-based app displays information obtained from outside or from another app, it may be a potential victim.

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