Lost smartphones mined by finders: Symantec

March 12, 2012
Lost smartphones are likely to be mined for valuable information by strangers who find them, according to the results of a sting operation conducted by computer security firm Symantec.

Lost smartphones are likely to be mined for valuable information by strangers who find them, according to the results of a sting operation conducted by computer security firm Symantec.

Symantec intentionally "lost" 50 smartphones at shopping centers, bus stops and other public places in cities in the United States and Canada and then monitored activity on devices by using embedded software.

The feedback showed "a very high likelihood of attempts to access both sensitive personal and business-related information will be made if a lost and unprotected is found by a stranger."

The results of "Smartphone Honey Stick Project" released Monday also showed that owners of lost smartphones shouldn't count on finders to try to contact them.

Half of the people who found the smartphones reached out to return them to owners, but applications promising to hold personal information including online banking were accessed in 89 percent of the cases, according to .

Work-related files with labels such as "human resources cases" were dipped into on 83 percent of the found phones. Overall, personal or business files were tapped into on 96 percent of the smartphones.

Symantec advised smartphone owners to lock screens with tough passwords and keep handsets close while out and about.

Explore further: Nokia adding Symantec security to phones

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kaasinees
Mar 12, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DDBear
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2012
It is possible that people were tapping into the personal files in an attempt to figure out the owner's address or phone number in order to return the phone (since I don't believe that 96% of people are snoopers)
Just_some_guy
5 / 5 (1) Mar 13, 2012
It is possible that people were tapping into the personal files in an attempt to figure out the owner's address or phone number in order to return the phone (since I don't believe that 96% of people are snoopers)

I agree. These statistics seem twisted. I too would browse the information until I found a god way of contacting the owner.
roboferret
not rated yet Mar 13, 2012
I don't think 89% of people would know how to access the file structure of a found smartphone. I wouldn't be surprised if they announced a smartphone security product on the back of this. Its the usual scaremongering we can expect from this type of firm. Much of the computer security industry (vendors of Windows products especially) is run like a protection racket, and feeds on fear and ignorance. "Give us money or bad things will happen to your data".
Ethelred
3 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2012
. I wouldn't be surprised if they announced a smartphone security product on the back of this.


They and others already have such products on the market.

is run like a protection racket, and feeds on fear and ignorance.


If only that was what was going on. Google is not testing the apps on the android store. Many are trojans. However in this case it is simply that people do lose phones. I have found two so far on the side of the road. And yes I looked what was there. Nothing that told me who contact.

Viruses, trojans, spyware have been around a long time. Originally most of it was produced by people that want to prove they were 733t. Now it is worse as some people have figured out how to make money off it. Not the AV makers, the malware makers. No machine can be protected fully from their owners being conned into installing nasties.

Ethelred
roboferret
not rated yet Mar 14, 2012
Maybe I wasn't clear - I wasn't claiming that malware wasn't a problem. It's the marketing tactics of the big AV vendors.
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 14, 2012
The problem is that way too many people figure out that the marketing is based on the truth the hard way. Some people think the AV companies make the malware but they don't know they are talking about. They don't understand hacker mentality. People used to send their viruses to Norton to brag. No not me. Never wrote anything longer than a couple of pages of source and mostly Forth.

The first PC virus was from Pakistan. Had to check, my memory had it as Afghanistan. I had an Apple ][ at the time.

I have this memory of an interview from that time. They were willing to sell infected pirate software to foreigners but didn't sell it the locals. They felt THEY were not pirates because they didn't have copyright laws but the foreigners did and thus they were pirates and deserved the virus.

And don't trust that. My memory is vague for things much more recent but it what I remember.

Ethelred
Estevan57
1.6 / 5 (13) Mar 14, 2012
"I wouldn't be surprised if they announced a smartphone security product on the back of this."

Absolutely. For Windows 8 perhaps? wink wink The timing would be just about right. Good call.
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2012
Again, they ALREADY HAVE a smart phone product.

For sale.

In stores.

Now.

Here is a review at TopTen.

http://mobile-security-software-review.toptenreviews.com/norton-smartphone-security-review.html

Keep in mind that TopTen sells software. Which could explain how Bulldog got #1. Their Internet Security is BitDefender(they license the BD engine) HEAVY. Didn't like it at all.

http://mobile-security-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

On another note.
There is no Windows 8. Only Windows Tablet and if that doesn't change its going to tank. Like Vista.

Ethelred
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2012
You know, this comment won't be exactly helpful or entirely on topic (in fact, that's kind of the point), but I initially misread the title as "Lost smartphones found by miners" and I thought "I bet they were REALLY surprised!

Alas.

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