Hackers’ new targets: Your users’ cell phones

A new year, a new set of data security threats to guard against. And according to the latest Cisco security report, mobile devices are going to be cybercriminals’ preferred targets in 2011.

The systems giant just released its 2010 Annual Security Report, which predicts a major cybercrime turning point.

Scammers, says the report, have begun shifting their focus away from Windows-based PCs to other operating systems and platforms. And they’re starting to focus on the latest crop of devices that are rapidly increasing in popularity, including smartphones, tablet computers, and mobile platforms in general.

One likely reason: It’s becoming easier to attack those than PCs.

In response to the last decade of cyber-exploits targeting Windows-based operating systems, PC platform and application vendors have beefed up security for their products and taken a more aggressive approach to patching vulnerabilities. As a result, scammers are finding it harder to exploit those platforms and are looking elsewhere to make money.

Combine that with the explosion in popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices — especially as many are used to connect to corporate networks — and it’s enough to make hacker shift their targets.

Now’s the time for IT to look carefully at its security strategy for both new platforms and mobile devices that are being used to access networks. Getting out ahead of the scammers may mean investing some time and resources, but the payoff could be substantial.

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