The opportunities for installing malicious software on personal smartphones is growing rapidly as more people download and install "third-party" applications, Symantec said in its report Tuesday. While most malicious software today targets personal computers – there are plenty of signs that mobile phones are in the cross hairs.
Criminals are targeting the phones because their users are increasingly using them "for sensitive transactions such as online shopping and banking," the report says.
Symantec documented 163 vulnerabilities in mobile device operating systems in 2010, compared with 115 in 2009.
Most malicious code for mobile devices today are Trojan Horse programs that pose as legitimate applications, Symantec said. If users download and install them, the Trojans can steal passwords and other information. Google announced last month that it had deleted a number of malicious apps for its Android phone – and had "even deleted some from users' phones remotely," Symantec reported.