This year could see an explosion in hacking attacks on web-enabled smartphones as new banking and payment initiatives enter the mobile channel, a research group has warned.

The Tower Group, a research and advisory company focused on the financial services industry, believes many mobile commerce offerings now emerging from the financial services sector "lack a reasonable and justifiable focus" on mobile security.

Among the new mobile wallet services are phones that consumers can use as a credit or debit card.

The success of mobile banking and payment initiatives will be determined by the industry's ability to effectively contain the malware problems to a level that is at least on part with that of the existing internet channel, TowerGroup said.

More than 200 mobile phone viruses have been identified since phones have been able to support PC-like applications such as email, instant messaging and web browsing, and the number is doubling every six months, TowerGroup said.