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Avast Research: Android Mobile Cyberattacks Increase 40% in 2Q17


The number of cyberattacks targeting Android mobile device users rose 40 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2017, according to new research from digital security solutions provider Avast.

Other Avast 2Q17 mobile security findings included:

  • There was an average of 1.2 million to 1.7 million cyberattacks per month.
  • Researchers tracked an average of 788 variations of viruses per month, representing a 22 percent year-over-year increase.
  • The top mobile threats were rooters (help cybercriminals spy and steal personal information), downloaders (enable cybercriminals to deploy social engineering tactics to trick victims into installing malicious apps) and fake apps (illegitimate apps that pose as real ones to expose users to advertisements and drive users to downloads).

Hackers are becoming more agile and dangerous, Gagan Singh, senior vice president of mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) at Avast, said in a prepared statement.

As such, cybersecurity solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies may become exceedingly important to mobile device users around the globe, Singh indicated.

Mobile Ransomware: An Evolving Threat

Mobile ransomware activity is on the rise, and this trend appears likely to continue in the foreseeable future, according to cybersecurity solutions provider Kaspersky Lab.

Key findings from the Kaspersky Security Network study of mobile threat actors from April 2016 to March 2017 included:

  • The total number of users who encountered ransomware rose 11.4 percent year over year.
  • The United States was the country with the highest percentage of mobile users attacked with mobile ransomware, followed by Canada, Germany and the UK.
  • 218,625 mobile Trojan ransomware installation packages were discovered in 1Q17, more than 3.5 times the total discovered in the prior quarter.

Mobile ransomware shows no signs of slowing down, Kaspersky indicated. However, Kaspersky noted there are many ways to combat mobile ransomware, and these include:

  • Back up data regularly.
  • Keep mobile device software up to date.
  • Be cautious about email messages or attachments from unknown sources; when in doubt, do not open these messages or attachments.
  • Educate employees and IT teams about mobile security.
  • Keep sensitive information separate from other data.
  • Restrict access to sensitive information.
  • Report ransomware activities to law enforcement.

Although mobile threats are constantly evolving, MSSPs can provide advanced services to help organizations detect and address cybersecurity dangers. By doing so, MSSPs may be able to capitalize on a global mobile security market that is expected to grow.

The worldwide mobile security market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47 percent between 2016 and 2022, market research firm KBV Research said in a prepared statement. In addition, this segment could be worth $73.5 billion by 2022, KBV Research stated.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.