What are common sources of threats to mobile devices and the health information on them?

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2012 issued a report to Congress called  “Information Security: Better Implementation of Controls for Mobile Devices Should Be Encouraged.”  The report identified mobile device threat sources such as hackers, cybercriminals and Botnet operators. It also explains how threat sources get control of or gain access to information on mobile devices.

  • Botnet Operators: Botnet operators widely distribute malware to mobile devices and coordinate remotely controlled attacks on websites. They also distribute phishing schemes, spam, and malware attacks on individual mobile devices.
  • Cybercriminals: Cyber criminals attack mobile devices for money. They gain access to information stored on a mobile device using spam, phishing or spyware/malware and use the information to commit identity theft, online fraud, and computer extortion. International criminal organizations attack mobile devices to conduct industrial espionage and large-scale money and intellectual property theft, posing a threat to corporations, institutions and government agencies.
  • Hackers: Hackers sometimes attack mobile devices to show their skills or gain prestige in the hacker community. Hacking used to require computer skills and knowledge, but today’s hackers can download attack scripts and protocols from the Internet and launch them against mobile devices.


Content last reviewed on September 10, 2019
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