Massive increase in mobile threats in Q2 2020: Kaspersky

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 17, 2020

India is sixth in list of affected countries

There has been a massive increase in mobile malware targeting users in Q2 2020, according to a report by cyber security firm Kaspersky.

Kaspersky, in the second quarter of the year, detected 1,245,894 malicious installers, an increase of 93,232 over the previous quarter.

The top three countries recording the highest number of mobile malware attacks were Iran (43.62 per cent), Algeria (21.97 per cent) and Bangladesh (19.30 per cent), India ranked sixth on the list, at 13.54 per cent.

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Most common threats

According to the report, Adware topped the list of mobile threats, consisting of 48 per cent of the overall threats, followed by RiskTool-type and SMS trojans. The most common adware detected by the cyber security firm was the Ewind adware family, which was 60.53 per cent of all adware detected, followed by the FakeAdBlocker family with 13.14 per cent and Inoco with 10.17 per cent.

Among SMS trojans, Agent (33.74 per cent), Fakeinst (26.80 per cent) and Opfake (26.33 per cent) were the most common.

“All the three families were more common with Russian users, which is typical of the entire SMS trojan threat class,” the report said.

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Decrease in ransomware, stalkerware

There has been a decrease in Mobile Banking Trojans in Q2 2020. As per the report, 38,951 mobile banking trojan installer packages were detected in Q2 2020, 3,164 fewer than in Q1 2020. Kaspersky also detected 3,805 installation packages for mobile Trojan ransomware in Q2 2020, which is 534 fewer than last quarter. This is mainly due to two main reasons.

“It is much harder to extort cash from users than to steal the bank account data right away. At the same time, the device needs to be previously infected in either case, so with the costs being equal, cyber criminals will choose the path of least resistance, i.e. theft,” the report said.

“A ransomware trojan is a threat the user will likely want to fight to get the device back to a functional state. The user is likely to win, too, even if by factory-resetting the device. Cyber criminals, in turn, try to keep their malware undetected on the device as long as possible, which runs counter to the whole idea of mobile ransomware,” it added.

Stalkerware also saw a decrease in Q2 2020.

“Many of the countries where this type of spyware enjoyed popularity went into lockdown or imposed self-isolation requirements, which resulted in stalkerware users finding themselves locked up for a long period of time with those they intended to spy on. One can assume that this led to a reduction in the number of mobile devices on which we detected stalkerware,” the report said.

“Over the past few quarters, we have seen an increase in the number of detected objects. Early 2018 saw a similar situation, when a great number of trojan droppers and potentially unwanted software was discovered,” Dipesh Kaura, General Manager for South Asia, Kaspersky said.

“As mobile and internet consumption go up, especially in countries like India and other South Asian regions, it can be predicted that cyber criminals too would shift their focus towards increasing threat actors for smartphones to increase their financial gains. Some of the most popular threat actors include Adware, banking & SMS trojans as well as stalkerware, all these are greatly used by cyber criminals to earn huge money by targeting smartphone users, and even stealing their important data to later sell it on the dark web or underground market. Consumers today need to understand the importance of having a basic antivirus or internet security solution installed on their devices to keep their data safe”, he said.

“Increasing self-awareness about the types of threats that may target mobile users is also equally important. Consumers should not only keep themselves updated on the various types of threats, but also spread their knowledge in order to keep their family and friends aware and secure online”, he added.

Published on September 17, 2020

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