One of the ways that hackers increase their reach is to infect and control computers in what is known as a botnet. The network of infected computers that can be controlled by a single hacker can number in the thousands. The concern is that, as cell phones become more sophisticated, they will be prime targets as part of a malicious network:
“…The report identifies the growing power of cell phones to open a new avenue of attack for hackers. Of particular concern is that as cell phones get more computing power and better Internet connections, hackers can capitalize on vulnerabilities in mobile-phone operating systems or Web applications.
Botnets, or networks of infected or robot PCs, are the weapons of choice when it comes to spam and so-called “denial of service attacks,” in which computer servers are overwhelmed with Internet traffic to shut them down.”
The advantage that the hackers have is the natural inclination of cell phone users to think of the ‘telephone’ as a secure device. There have been years of usage without concerns about spyware, malware or hacker infections. Part of the security challenge will be to develop an awareness in cell phone users of risk issues. The days of just a simple cell phone call may be remembered with fondness.