Mobile cyber attacks on a dramatic increase

With the cyber threats faced by mobile phone users ramping up, the need for more secure mobile apps is increasing.

New research from Avast, the digital security products company, has revealed that there has been an uptick in attacks targeting Android smartphones and tablets, year over year in Q2/2017.

Just days after the recent Instagram hack released thousands of consumers’ mobile phone numbers for sale on the dark web, putting them at greater risk of cyberattack, new Avast research reveals a 40% increase in mobile cyber attacks in the past year.

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“Mobile cyber security attacks are growing rapidly as hackers’ strategies become more agile and dangerous, and what’s at stake is mostly the user’s personal data and privacy,” said Gagan Singh, SVP & GM of Mobile and IoT at Avast: “We constantly update our mobile security solutions to address new threats by leveraging powerful AI and machine learning technologies in combination with the world’s largest threat detection network to make it easy for consumers to stay secure online. Users carry their most valuable data around with their smartphones, and therefore we also focus on strong features protecting their privacy, securing their device and data, while providing convenience.”

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Avast’s research revealed an increase in mobile cyber attacks of 40%, from an average of 1.2 million to 1.7 million attacks per month. Researchers tracked an average of 788 variations of viruses per month, up 22.2% from Q2/2016.

The findings also showed that the top three mobile threats are designed to spy and steal personal information (referred to as ‘Rooters’), and to spam users with ads, even outside of the app (referred to as ‘Downloaders/Droppers’ and ‘Fake Apps’).

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The top three mobile threats of Q2 are:

1. Rooters (22.80%) — Rooters request root access to a smartphone or use exploits to obtain root access, thereby gaining control of the device to spy on the user and steal information.
2. Downloaders (22.76%) — Downloaders or droppers use social engineering tactics to trick victims into installing more malicious apps. Droppers also typically show full-screen ads, even outside of the app itself. These ads are not just annoying, but are often linked to suspicious sites.
3. Fake apps (6.97%) — Illegitimate apps posing as real ones in order to drive downloads and expose users to advertisements.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...