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Experts: Smartphones another avenue for hackers

Wednesday - 5/15/2013, 4:01pm  ET

TONY WINTON
Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) -- Smartphones are increasingly popular not only with consumers, but also with thieves who see the devices as another way to tap into bank accounts and other sensitive information, experts say.

Many consumers simply don't realize how vulnerable their Androids, iPhones and other devices can be. An April study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said threats are proliferating, ranging from "phishing" -- where consumers click a phony email or text message and are tricked into handing over personal information -- to consumers' reluctance to use security protections they normally have on home computers, like a password.

The study said there are several things that can make smartphones an easy target. Vast amounts of personal data are stored in emails, texts and other applications, and personal information is increasingly easily found on social media. Organized crime operations also see smartphones as the most vulnerable entry point into the electronic financial system, according to the Federal Reserve.

"We have some very bad characters who would like to take our money, take our identification, and run away with it," said Marie Gooding, first vice president of the Atlanta Fed.
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