16 Percent of Mobile Devices are Infected with Malware in Emerging Markets, Expert Weighs in

BACKGROUND:

recent survey has found that in emerging markets such as Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, and Thailand, 16 percent of mobile devices that processed a transaction was found to be infected with malware. Insights come from Secure-D processing 1 billion mobile transactions and service sign-ups for 35 mobile operators in 23 emerging markets covering nearly 840 million users. The report reveals the scale of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobile ad fraud and malware. 46,000 malicious apps were detected in circulation, with a global block rate of 95 percent. This translates as 16 percent of mobile devices carrying at least one infected app.

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Burak Agca
Burak Agca , Security Engineer
InfoSec Expert
April 29, 2021 1:49 pm

<p>Android is the predominant mobile operating system worldwide, but the fragmentation of different operating systems and devices spanning back over a decade has resulted in an insurmountable challenge based on the sheer numbers of users in these markets. Android devices have made mobile technology accessible to the populations of these countries given the low price point of legacy models.</p> <p> </p> <p>Today, almost everyone has a mobile carrier subscription or pay-as-you-go connection. We have the freedom to choose our device and manufacturer, access public app stores that allow us to stay productive regardless of our location, and connect to access points we assume to be secure. Despite all of this knowledge and connectivity, we still take too long to manually update our devices to the latest version of operating systems or applications.</p> <p> </p> <p>Given that more than 200 billion apps were downloaded last year, the figures given are quite conservative and focus only on malicious apps. There is no doubt that Apple and Google have done a spectacular job in provisioning safe platforms and app stores accessible to billions of people. However, given enough focus and even nation-state funding, the bad actors are finding ways to find gaps in the native security protections of these devices.</p> <p> </p> <p>Where users choose to avoid updating their devices and keeping their software up to date, there is little Google or Apple can do to protect users without a mobile security product installed. In the same way that you would never consider using a PC without an antivirus solution, people shouldn’t have mobile devices at the centre of their lives without securing them. In addition to rising encounter rates against malware, COVID also saw marked increases in the rate at which users fell for phishing links, predominantly arriving via SMS text message where security coverage is still weak today. </p> <p> </p> <p>The rise in third-party (non-official) app store resources adds significantly to the problem. Threat actors dress up their malicious payloads into popular apps. By offering more features than the original version via third-party sites, often freely, users are baited into installing apps that are essentially malware.</p> <p> </p> <p>To avoid these issues,  upgrade your device and apps to the latest version, install a mobile security product, making sure you manage your passwords carefully and reduce your digital footprint by providing the least amount of your private data.</p>

Last edited 1 year ago by Burak Agca
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