- The number of malware attacks doubled in 2018 as compared to 2017.
- The number of unique malware files decreased suggesting impactful and precise attacks.
- Trojan-Droppers malware had most significant growth in 2018: Kaspersky Lab
In what could raise security concerns among masses, a new report has claimed that the number of attacks using malicious mobile software nearly doubled in just one year, with 116.5 million attacks observed in 2018, compared to 66.4 million in 2017. According to researchers from Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, the number of attacks have risen but the number of unique malware files has decreased. On the basis of this, researchers now believe that the quality of mobile malware has become more impactful and precise.
“The channels through which malware is delivered is a key component of the success of modern threat campaigns. As dependence on mobile devices grows, both for business users and consumers, cybercriminals are paying more attention to mobile as an attack vector. Cybercriminals have steadily been increasing their use of mobile malware, aiming to take advantage of those who do not have security solutions installed on their phones,” Kaspersky Lab says in its Mobile malware evolution 2018 report.
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The firm claims that the success of mobile distribution strategies is not only evidenced by an increase in attacks, but also by the number of unique users that have encountered this kind of malware. It found that in 2018, the number of unique users facing mobile malware rose to 9,895,774 -- an increase of 774,000 those who were affected last year. The most significant growth was in the use of Trojan-Droppers, whose share almost doubled, rising from 8.6 percent of malware observed in 2017 to more than 17 percent in 2018.
The Trojan-Dropper malware is designed to bypass system protection and deliver all kinds of malicious files, from banking Trojans to ransomware.
“In 2018, mobile device users faced what could have been the fiercest cybercriminal onslaught ever seen. Over the course of the year, we observed both new mobile device infection techniques, such as DNS hijacking, along with an increased focus on enhanced distribution schemes, like SMS spam. This trend demonstrates the growing need for mobile security solutions to be installed on smartphones – to protect users from device infection attempts, regardless of the source,” Viсtor Chebyshev, Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab, said in a statement.
Kaspersky Lab researchers also observed a fivefold increase in attacks using malicious mobile cryptocurrency miners last year. In 2018, 151,359 installation packages for mobile banking Trojans were detected, which is 1.6 times more than in 2017. The firm says that the easiest and most effective way to be safe from attacks is to install mobile applications only from official app stores, such as Google Play for Android devices or the App Store on iOS. Users must also block the installation of programmes from unknown sources in device settings, and install system and application updates as soon as they are available.