Avast, a provider of digital security products, revealed that Adware (advertising-supported software) is responsible for 72% of all mobile malware and the remaining 28% related to banking trojans, fake apps, lockers, and downloaders. Adware is a kind of software that hijacks mobile devices to spam the victim with unwanted ads.
Threat intelligence team from Avast stated that Android adware is a rising issue with its number increased by 38% in the past year alone. According to Avast, Adware disguises itself in the form of gaming and entertainment apps to infect the devices when a user clicks on ads. These apps appear genuine while installing, but once opened, they start spamming the user with ads (mostly with malicious content). This happens when a user downloads apps that run stealthy activities without the user’s knowledge like downloading an encrypted .dex file in the background of a device.
Avast recommended few tips to help prevent mobile adware attacks, which include:
- Only download apps from official app stores, like Google Play, as they have security measures in place to check apps before developers upload them, or from the app’s website directly for extra assurance
- Check app ratings of other users in the store, as it’s still important to watch out for fakes. If an app has few stars and many negative comments, something might be amiss
- Carefully review the permissions an app requests before downloading an app; if an app requests access to data that it doesn’t need in order to function, it might be fraudulent
- Check your banking and credit card statements to identify any unauthorized payments. Cybercriminals will select low cost subscriptions so they’re hard to spot
- Use an antivirus solution on your phone to identify and stop any attempted attacks
Commenting on the findings, Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Head of Mobile Threat Intelligence & Security at Avast, said, “No one likes getting served with incessant ads; they’re often unwanted and can ruin our enjoyment of an app. They could also pose a threat to users as cybercriminals can use them as a backdoor to a device – whether it’s to make money from advertisers or steal your personal information. We’ve been tracking this issue for a number of years and the increased use of mobile devices is likely fueling its growth.”