Threats against mobile phones continue to grow as cybercriminals recognize these devices as a key point of convergence for a host of social messaging applications, according to Richard Rushing, CISO at Motorola Mobility, speaking at SC Congress Chicago on Thursday.

“We're connecting to all these social networks that have their own versions of texting [and] SMS,” said Richard Rushing. “So instead of having one avenue into the device where you may get some level of rogue behavior or someone trying to get you to do something, now you have [many], whether it be Snapchat, whether it be WhatsApp...”

Consequently, threats can easily spread via a “lateral social exchange” in which mobile device users inadvertently infect their friends,” Rushing continued.

Phone also act as point of convergence with other key information systems, especially when used as part of a two-factor authentication process that grants individuals access to email and other online services. As a result, said Rushing, cybercriminals are devising blended threat campaigns “where I may not be after something that is necessarily on the phone, but the phone is the gateway” to the primary target.