The number of users of stalkerware, an application to spy on boyfriends, increased from 40,386 in 2018 to 67,500 in 2019, according to a report published on Tuesday (25) by security company Kaspersky. The survey looked at cyber threats that attacked cell phones in 2019, according to data provided by users of the Russian manufacturer's apps. The numbers indicate two trends: the growth of espionage without consent by stalkerwares and the theft of bank data by Trojans. Check the following list of the top five mobile phone security threats in 2019 and learn how to protect yourself from them.
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See which were the most common threats in 2019, according to the Kaspersky report Photo: Pond5
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The number of victims of stalkerware applications increased from 40,386 in 2018 to 67,500 in 2019. The software makes third-party user data, such as messages and the location of the cell phone, available to third parties. The most sophisticated tracking applications can collect almost all files from the attacked device, such as photos, phone calls, texts and keystrokes.
Stalkerwares are prohibited on Google Play, however they can be found on the websites of developers and on portals of dubious origin, which increases the risk of security breaches and scams. You need to pay attention to important signals, such as excessive use of mobile data and excessive battery consumption, to find out if your cell phone is being spied on by someone.
Use of spy app grows in 2019 with stalkerware Photo: Reproduo / Kaspersky Lab
2. New ways to steal bank details
In 2019 a new method was detected to intercept bank data to apply it in financial scams. Until then, the theft of information from account holders by cell phone happened through transfers via SMS messages or through the creation of fake bank pages to obtain the necessary data. However, the banking trojan detected by Kaspersky in 2019 intercepted bank data from manipulating Internet Banking applications.
The attack is applied by sending a push notification on the cell phone that is supposed to be from the bank. The user accesses the tab to enter the application and has the smartphone infected. The malware exploits the accessibility tool to have full access to the cell phone and move money from the bank account remotely. It is important to access banking applications only using mobile data to avoid vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi networks, and install an antivirus on the cell phone to protect the system.
Mobile banking apps are safe, but I need to take care of banking trojans Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes / TechTudo
3. Detection of banking trojans has decreased
Despite the discovery of a new banking trojan, the number of such threats has decreased. The fall is due to the Trojan Asacub distribution campaign, which plummeted in April last year. The countries with the most victims of this malicious app were Russia, South Africa, Australia and Spain.
4. Number of adware victims remains
Although the number of adware victims remained in 2019 compared to the previous year, the number of installation of the threat increased considerably from 440,098 to 764,265 detections in 2019. This is the most common threat and the large number of victims happens because , as the app does not usually have features other than displaying advertisements, the victim excludes the threat and the malicious code neutralized the cell phone.
Google has taken more offensive action on adware-type applications. The company last week removed almost 600 apps from the Android store, which had more than 4.5 billion downloads, on suspicion of displaying excessive ads on users' phones. Advertising considered "disruptive" by Google tends to affect the usability of the smartphone and display pop-ups even when the app is closed.
Google Play may harbor malicious applications Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes / TechTudo
5. Malicious apps infiltrate the Google Play Store
Criminals take advantage of users' trust in the Play Store to infiltrate malicious apps in the store and thus reach a greater number of victims. CamScanner is a prominent case of malicious apps: the program featured an advertising library with a malicious component, despite fulfilling the app's purpose of scanning documents with the cell phone camera. Despite reports, the installation of malicious apps on the Play Store declined in 2019, compared to 2018.
However, it is worth taking care when downloading applications on the phone. It is possible to recognize whether the app in question is safe or not with some points. Check user ratings and comments, check the update frequency, and search for more information about the manufacturer are some of the tips to protect yourself when downloading apps.
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