FOX19 Investigates: Least secure smartphone for hacking

(CNN/FOX19) - Security experts have been warning us for years of the potential rise in cell phone cyber attacks. But 2013 could be the year it actually happens. Why? Because of mobile payment systems.

Smartphones are no longer being used just for communication, they're also acting as mobile wallets.

Research from Juniper Networks says this year 300 million smartphones around the world will be equipped with near field communication chips, which are needed to make mobile payments. Even though this technology is considered secure, experts say many apps that use it could be full of loopholes, making smartphones extremely vulnerable.

Security experts say "ransomware" is another dangerous trend that could start to affect consumers. Ransomware takes control of a person's device and data until the user pays money. One security firm expects it to move from celebrity victims to regular consumers this year.

So which phones are the most vulnerable?

AARP has looked into the issue and says Droids have the least secure operating system of any smartphone. iPhones are best, AARP says, followed by Windows 7 phones and the Blackberry.

But iPhone users shouldn't feel their phones are impenetrable. Security experts say Apple's smartphones could see more attacks this year because hackers know wealthier people tend to own Apple devices.

As scary as these potential attacks seem, the biggest security risk remains old-fashioned carelessness. Researchers say private information is most commonly taken from lost phones or those not locked with a password.

You can also get some help protecting your smartphone by using security software. AARP recommends Lookout Mobile Security, which can be used for free.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.