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Mobile Apps: The Rising Cybersecurity Risk From Malware

More than 300 Google Play Store apps are infected with a certain type of malware that continuously requests ads from third-parties and fakes user clicks on those ads.

Because advertisers pay per user click and the malware creates fraudulent impressions, this malware can cost advertisers between $62,000 and $214,000 a day.

For the unsuspecting user, the malware is constantly running, so it drains the power from smartphones. A user who downloads the malware will notice his or her phone running slower and the battery life draining quicker.

Developers whose apps are infected with the malware include Attunable, Classywall, Firamo, FlameryHot, NeonApp, Goopolo, Personalization, Litvinka Co, Liverypapir, Tuneatpa, Waterflo, X Soft and Zheka. Google is working to protect apps sold on the Google Play Store from malware. "Hundreds of Google Play Store apps may be infected with power stealing malware," www.trussvilletribune.com (Jul. 1, 2017).


Commentary

According to the recent Nokia Threat Intelligence Report, smartphone malware infections increased 400 percent in 2016.

With apps becoming a major target for hackers, smartphone users must be extremely cautious when downloading apps and other files onto their mobile devices. Mobile malware targets Android users in particular.

Read reviews of an app before downloading it. Look for any signs that it contains malware, such as other users reporting that the app slows down their phone’s operations.

To avoid downloading malware-infected apps, never download apps from third-party app stores. Before downloading a popular app, look up the developer and make sure to download the correct app. Malware developers will often create copycat apps laced with malware.

To protect your smartphone from any malware infection, keep your operating system and other programs up-to-date. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on all mobile devices.

Finally, watch for cybersecurity alerts because cybercriminals are constantly creating new strains of mobile malware. Avoid any apps reported to contain malware, and immediately delete any apps that are revealed to contain malware.

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