SMARTPHONE users, especially those running Google's Android system, are being warned to prepare for an unprecedented tsunami of malicious apps.
Phones using the Android operating system - more than four out of five of all new phone sales - will face a 6000 percent higher chance of being hacked, and personal and security details compromised, according to industry experts.
Catalin Cosoi of UK cyber security firm Bitdefender said: “We have investigated applications for Android devices and basically, based on our statistics, we've seen a 2,000% increase of malicious applications compared to last year.
“Our prediction is that in the following six months, we will have a 6,000% increase in malicious applications.
“Once you have a smartphone, you probably can't go back to an older version of a phone now that you have access to a computer, social media, emails, pictures and so on. You sort of get addicted, so smartphones are becoming very important.
“On the other hand, it's very, very easy to create malware for smartphones.
“Sometimes you can take a malicious part from one application and insert it into another and start propagating an application on the web.
“So smartphones are increasing and also, it's very easy to create malicious applications for smartphones.”
An estimated 480 million smartphones will be sold this year.
According to the research group Gartner, 43.4% of all smartphone sales use the Android platform, 18.2% use the Apple software, 22.1% use Nokia's Symbian and Blackberry's RIM, 11.7%.