Adware is software that automatically downloads or displays advertising material to a device.
Bluetooth™ is a short-range wireless communications protocol that allows devices such a mobile devices, computers, headsets, cameras and printers to communicate with one another without the need for connecting cables.
A TAC (Type Allocation Code) is the first 8-digits of the IMEI number associated with a mobile device. The TAC identifies the device model type or marketing name. GSMA uniquely allocates each TAC to a specific manufacturer and device model enabling them to create unique identities for each device produced. To see the different Equipment Types for TAC, please click here.
An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) is a 15-digit number associated with a mobile device. Every individual device has a unique IMEI. The IMEI is a little like an electronic serial number that uniquely identifies an individual device to the network. Some mobile service providers have the capability to maintain a ‘blacklist’ of IMEI’s associated with devices that have been reported stolen. Devices with IMEI values included in the blacklist are automatically prevented from accessing the service provider’s network.
‘Malware’ is short for ‘Malicious Software’ and is the generic term for any computer program that is written with the intent of performing unwanted acts on a computing device (including mobile devices) without the knowledge or permission of the owner or user of that device. Common types of Malware include Adware, Spyware, Trojan Horse programs, Viruses and Worms. Installing anti-virus software on your mobile device can help to protect against this threat.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group defines Phishing as “Phishing attacks use both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers’ personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social-engineering schemes use ‘spoofed’ e-mails to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords and social security numbers. Hijacking brand names of banks, e-retailers and credit card companies, phishers often convince recipients to respond. Technical subterfuge schemes plant crimeware onto PCs to steal credentials directly, often using Trojan keylogger spyware.” (source: APWG,www.apwg.org).
A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a short, numeric code that is used to verify that a person using a service is correctly authorised to do so. Perhaps the most familiar application of PIN numbers is in conjunction with credit and debit cards, however PINs are used in many other services too. When choosing a PIN you should always avoid using easily guessable values such as ‘0000’, ‘1111’ or ‘1234’. You should always keep your PIN numbers secret and should you suspect that somebody else knows your PIN you should change it immediately.
Premium Rate Numbers are phone numbers that provide access to Premium Rate Services. In many countries, premium rate numbers are easily identified as they are allocated special number ranges, for instance in the United Kingdom numbers starting ’09’ are premium rate numbers.
These are information or entertainment services, usually provided through voice telephony or SMS/MMS, for which a customer accessing the service is charged via their telephone bill. The charges for accessing these services may vary greatly, but may be as much as several €’s per minute, per call or per message. Whilst there are very many genuine premium rate services in existence, there are also a small number of unscrupulous or fraudulent operators of these services. Premium Rate Services are heavily regulated in some countries. Your service provider should be able to provide you with more information on premium rate services.
Spam is the term used to describe unsolicited electronic messages. Spam is generally associated with e-mail, however spam can be sent using other mechanisms too. In addition to e-mail, SMS, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and Instant Messaging spam are all possible.
‘Spyware’ is a form of malware that is designed to steal confidential data from the computer or mobile device it is running on. Usernames, passwords and PIN numbers are often captured by Spyware to enable its author to gain unauthorised access to the services that these credentials are intended to protect. Installing anti-virus software on your mobile device can help to protect against this threat.
A ‘Trojan Horse’ program is a specific form of malware. Like the Trojan Horse of Greek mythology, Trojan Horse programs trick a user into installing them on their device or computer by masquerading as genuinely useful applications. Once installed however, the Trojan Horse will perform some unauthorised and malicious activity on the computer or device. Trojan Horses are one reason why you should only install software on your device or PC if you are confident that you can trust the source of this software. Trojan Horse programs differ from Viruses and Worms because Trojan Horse programs are unable to replicate themselves. Installing anti-virus software on your mobile device can help to protect against this threat.
A ‘Virus’ program is a specific form of malware. Viruses infect devices and computers by attaching themselves to files, executables or documents. When an infected file is transferred from one device to another, for instance by e-mail, the virus infects the receiving device. Unlike Worms, viruses are unable to propagate between devices automatically, they rely on some human action to transfer them from machine to machine. Once installed on a device, a virus will make copies of itself and embed these on files found on the device, it will also generally perform some unauthorised and malicious activity on the computer or device. Installing anti-virus software on your mobile device can help to protect against this threat.
Voicemail services (also known as answer phone services or voice messaging services) allow users of telephony services to receive voice messages from callers even when they are unable or unwilling to receive the call directly.
Worms are a specific class of malicious computer program. Worms differ from Viruses in that a worm is capable of transmitting itself from an infected computer or mobile device to another vulnerable computer or mobile device without human intervention. In the PC space, worms typically propagate from one computer to another over network connections, including the internet. In the mobile device arena, worms in existence at the time of writing attempt to use Bluetooth™ or MMS messaging to move from one device to another. Most operators block worm transmission by MMS. There are no mobile device related worms known about at this time that can infect a device without first displaying a number of prompts on the device display. Users can block infection of their device by selecting the right response to any one of these prompts. For instance, users can answer ‘No’, if prompted, to decline installation of a program if the user is unsure of the source.