Viruses found embedded in smartphone apps

Tuesday - 8/3/2010, 8:30am EDT

Cybersecurity Update - Tune in weekdays at 30 minutes past the hour for the latest cybersecurity news on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris (6-10 a.m.) and the DorobekINSIDER with Chris Dorobek (3-7 p.m.). Listen live at or on the radio at 1500 and 820 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The Cybersecurity Update is brought to you by TripWire.

  • Internet-enabled smart phones are all the rage and hackers are taking notice. About 80 apps for the Google Android were recently found to be viruses that could harvest all your phone numbers; Google has since taken them down. Another virus is spread by a popular 3-D game delivered as a web app, it makes your smartphone dial out to far-flung places like Somalia. USA Today reports despite the attacks, Web app infections are rare compared to the number of viruses that infect PCs.

  • An Energy Department report reinforces concerns about cyber security of the nation's electric grid. DOE assessed two dozen control systems over several years and concluded that unsafe coding practices leave them vulnerable to surveillance and hackers. Intruders could redirect electricity, steal data, even shut down parts of the grid, the report warns. The study was conducted by the Idaho National Lab. "Poor code quality leads to vulnerabilities and bugs in the code that not only make it vulnerable to attack, but also fragile and unstable," the report said. The Wall Street Journal reports many of the security vulnerabilities are common and easy to fix, such as poor password management.

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