The BBC has demonstrated how easy it is for hackers to develop a malicious smartphone application that can be used to steal private user data and send it to a third party's e-mail account.
In a special report released by BBC News, the corporation showed how it used a popular smartphone application toolkit in order to a create a spyware program. The program is hard to detect as it uses the same functionality as a legitimate application.
The BBC said that the software was not released for download and was tested by running it on a single device.
Chris Wysopal, the founder of security firm Veracode, the company which helped the BBC develop the malware, said: “Mobile phones are really personal devices. You might have one computer for a family but every family member has a personal device and it is with them all the time.”
He explained that hi-tech criminals were now targeting popular smartphone platforms, such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android, with sophisticated spyware applications disguised as legitimate programs.