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Is Your Smartphone Safe For Holiday Shopping?

Published November 26, 2012 Examiner.com

The 2012 holiday shopping season will be the biggest and busiest in history. As a result, the potential dangers lurking in the mobile space are almost as plentiful as the opportunities for discount shopping.

On Monday, the State Department of Consumer Protection issued a stark warning to mobile shoppers everywhere: cyber shopping is not a risk-free zone.

“While smart phones and the Internet can make your holiday shopping faster and easier, there can also be pitfalls if you're not careful,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said this morning. "This year, with more and more shoppers using mobile devices to do some or all of their holiday shopping, we’re warning consumers to be on the lookout for a growing number of mobile ecommerce scams."

In addition to the aforementioned ecommerce scams, another major threat lurking in the mobile world comes in the form of mobile ads and apps capable of spreading mobile malware.

A growing segment of the mobile security industry believes that mobile ad networks are among the biggest culprits - unwittingly or otherwise - of this regrettable phenomenon.

Fortunately, not every mobile ad network is just watching from the sidelines as malware targets the masses. Recently, Airpush - which took home the crown jewel of honors as the "Best Mobile Ad Network" at the 2012 MEAs - partnered with Appthority to target and eliminate mobile malware from the entire Airpush network.

Appthority's mobile security technology now scans all advertiser app promotions and URLs. All told, it's great peace of mind for mobile consumers. But not all mobile ad networks have followed suit. Consequently, ample dangers persist.

So what can consumers do to better protect themselves? According to the State Department of Consumer Protection, during the holidays, consumers who use their phones to check in on Facebook or other social networks "are likely to be targeted by ads for holiday deals, gifts, giveaways and promotions. Be wary about clicking on these ads, particularly if doing so prompts you to download an unfamiliar app to your phone."