A Growing Malware Problem on Mobile Devices

Source: geralt at pixaybay.com

As of 2015, 56 percent of all internet traffic is from mobile devices. This surge in mobile popularity has fueled many great innovations in technology and culture. Mobile phones are now used for shopping, dating, communicating, and recording video. They’re a treasure trove of personal information for the ne’er do wells of the Internet.

A Finnish mobile phone company recently analyzed data from one of its products, NetGuard Internet Security, and found that mobile phone infection rates have doubled since the last half of 2015 with an estimated 0.52 percent being infected. This is down from the infection rate of 1 percent from April, but it signals a growing trend in malware.

Among smart phones that were infected by a piece of malware, Android devices made up 74 percent of all infected phones. 22 percent were related to mobile phones connecting to an infected PC/Windows computer, and the remaining 4 percent were iOS infections.

Mobile game apps from third party websites are the primary way that phones are becoming infected. One popular game, Pokémon Go, has been hijacked by hackers to include ransomware that encrypts files on smartphones and then demands that the user pays the hacker to get their files back.

Mobile phone users can protect themselves by only downloading apps from the official store. Many apps on third party sites have been compromised. They should also be wary of any app that is asking for more permissions than it should, for example, why does a flashlight app need access to your location or camera? It’s also recommended to download a malware scanning app and regularly check to see if your phone has accidently picked up any bugs from the net.

Published September 8, 2016 by Luke Severn.
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