Since the advent of the internet, cybercrime has been a problem. As we progress to a wider range of digital devices, more opportunities for cyber criminals present themselves. Malicious mobile programs have increased threefold in the past year according to research by Kaspersky Lab. The main purpose of mobile malware is to steal money from its victims. This can be achieved through banking Trojans, ransomware, SMS Trojans, and malicious apps in app stores.
Banking Trojans can impersonate the interface of your banking application in order to steal your banking credentials. Meanwhile, SMS Trojans can infect your device and then use it to send paid text messages. They also have the ability to subscribe you to paid services that you do not need. Perhaps the most dangerous part is that you may not even be aware this has happened until the money has been removed from your account.
Like its name implies, ransomware can literally hold your mobile device hostage until you pay a ransom. Once ransomware has found its way onto your device, it blocks the device so you cannot use it. In order to free your device and recover your data, you have to pay a fee to cybercriminals that could be anywhere from $12 to $100.
We recommend that you avoid downloading apps from non-official stores as they are not as closely monitored for malware. However, even official stores like the Google Play Store can sometimes contain malicious apps. In the past year, even Apple has seen malware sneak into its app store, compromising dozens of applications, including popular ones.
Many mobile devices are especially vulnerable to malware because people still do not recognize that smartphones are computers and, as such, need to be protected. Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other mobile devices require just as much security as a desktop computer, if not more.
Protect Your Mobile Device
- Use an anti-virus or anti-malware app that scans applications upon install
- Do not download applications from non-official stores
- If you're doing banking from your mobile device, ensure that you're using the bank's app or have an https connection
- Avoid downloading any app that seems questionable (even in official stores)
- Read carefully and understand the permissions you are granting applications
- Don’t store private information on your device
- Back up your device frequently
- Always password protect your device
Evolution of mobile malware https://blog.kaspersky.com/mobile-malware-evolution-2015/11462/
Mobile malware statistics https://securelist.com/analysis/kaspersky-security-bulletin/73839/mobile-malware-evolution-2015/