A new report by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based cybersecurity and anti-virus company, has revealed that attacks on mobile devices with malware doubled from 66.4 million in 2017 to 116.5 million in 2018, according to a press release from the company.
Also troubling is the fact that the number of unique malware files has decreased, which has researchers worried that the quality of malware continues to increase, becoming more precise and impactful.
“The channels through which malware is delivered are 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,” the company said. “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.”
In 2018, the number of mobile users who interacted with malware went up 774,000, reaching 9,895,774. The most common attack comes from Trojan-Droppers, which are designed to get past security and then implement malicious files like ransomware or banking trojans. This type of malware went from 8.6 percent observed to 17 percent in one year.
“In 2018, mobile device users faced what could have been the fiercest cybercriminal onslaught ever seen,” said Viсtor Chebyshev, a security expert at Kaspersky Lab. “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.”
To combat malware and stay protected, Kaspersky Lab offered a few tips, including only download directly from official app stores, block installation of unknown programs in phone settings, don’t undo restrictions in phones, always install updates as soon as possible and make sure to use reliable protection for devices.