Hi-tech criminals turning attention from PCs to smartphones

BBC tech correspondent Mark Ward created a malicious application for smartphones to show how easy it is for hi-tech criminals to steal data from end users.

The malicious application was built using standard parts from the software toolkits that are used by developers to develop programs for handsets.

The malicious application was capable of retrieving personal details such as contact numbers and text messages, logging the phone's location and sending the details to a especially set-up e-mail address.

A large number of malicious applications are designed to attack Windows PCs, but hi-tech criminals have now started to turn their attention from PCs to smartphones.

Users most at risks are those who deliberately download pirated applications from less policed websites, which houses most of the malicious applications.

Applications stores are trying hard to police the applications they offer so that the booby-trapped applications could be prevented from growing. But, experts feel that the threat will most likely grow in future.

Recently, Apple and Google removed several applications from their stores amid fears that the applications were malicious, proving that there is an increase in booby-trapped applications for smartphones.