What is Mobile Malware? – A Parental Guide
Among online security dangers, mobile malware attacks are the most common cyber threats infecting thousands of mobile devices on a daily basis. Today, we are living in virtual times of technological evolution. Every passing year brings innovations in tech trends, making our lives easier.
Cell phones have become a necessity. The analysis of Tech Crunch estimated that there would be more than six billion smartphone users around the globe by the end of the year 2020.
The reason for such an instant boom in mobile users is that we all are living digital lives. And such online exposure gives an immense opportunity for hackers to intervene and steal personal data of online users.
Around 350,000 malware attacks are infecting our digital systems every day. Statistics show that there are about 980 million malware program roaming in the online world.
What is the most vulnerable source for malware attacks?
Yes, we receive emails every day, containing content of various types. Mobile phones and tablets have made it much more convenient to send, receive, or read emails anytime we want. Almost 85% of people access their email IDs using mobile devices. Directly or indirectly, we are providing an open window for malware attacks to infect our mobile devices.
In this article, we are going to explain what is mobile malware, how it attacks digital systems. Moreover, we will also discuss why it is significant for parents to consider the online security of their kids.
What is Mobile Malware? – A Parental Guide:
Mobile malware is a programme designed to crack the operating system of the target device. Such malicious software damage and collapse the running OS of the smartphone/tablet, making it more vulnerable to security threats.
But why would mobile malware attack smart devices?
The reason for targeting a specific device with a malware attack is to damage its firewalls and encryptions to steal stored confidential information.
Here are some official statistics regarding security threats for malware attacks;
- According to research conducted at the University of Cambridge, 87% of the smart devices are at critical risk to get exposed to at least one vulnerability.
- In a survey, Zimperium Labs found out that a single text message can hack 95% of mobile phones.
- According to reports, Kaspersky revealed that its anti-malware software detected 24,610,126 malicious objects in 2019.
Over the passing time, mobile malware has evolved with modern types and distribution methods.
Before explaining the types of malware programmes, let’s discuss the history of evolving mobile malware.
History of Mobile Malware Software:
- The very first malware virus, Timofonica, was discovered in 2000. Timofonica, developed by Russian and Finnish labs mastered in building anti-malware programmes. The virus sent a stack of text messages to GSM mobile phones that contained criticism against Spanish operator Telefonica.
- In 2004, The Worm “Cabir” named virus was invented. The virus could spread via Bluetooth and could target Symbian mobile devices.
- In 2007, the very first mobile spyware was discovered. Mobile spy apps can record incoming and outgoing phone calls, track messages, etc.
- The Cabir 2011, alarmed Android devices. It is capable of deadly malware attacking. The malware is capable of recording mobile data on stealth mode.
- In 2013 malware, known as FakeDefender, sent false security threats making people install the fake anti-malware infecting several smart devices.
Now, allow us to reveal some popular types of mobile malware. Parents must read the latter section carefully. Because; understanding the type of malware can help them safeguard their kids against security threats.
Common Types of Mobile Malware:
As technology advances, mobile malware also modified launching more versatile and complicated versions. Consequently, cybersecurity practices and malware development grow in a parallel fashion.
Here are some domains of mobile malware programs everyone should know to boost the online security of their friends and family.
1- Mobile Spy Apps:
Mobile spy apps are capable enough to record all the ongoing digital activities of smartphones and tablets. Cell phone spy apps are common nowadays, enabling people to monitor phones. You can spy on calls, text messages, GPS location, surround noises, media gallery, etc. Moreover, mobile spyware work in stealth mode. The spy app leaves no clue of secret spying activities. However, mobile spy tools can be detected by inconsistent battery life and other disturbed cellular activities.
The mobile trojan is a malware that can attach itself to legal apps when integrating with an operating system. If you open the infected file containing trojan, the malware secretly incorporates with legitimate installed apps. Such interaction results in crashing the target device. Mobile trojans are famous for targeting bank details.
The most popular banking trojan is Zeus. It can infect mobile devices owned by banking officers and steal all the banking credentials with its keylogging feature.
3- Mobile Phishing:
We all know about the traditional phishing technique, in which a fake file or URL containing the malware is sent to the target device via email.
Mobile phishing includes transmitting a malware embedded link to a target phone/tablet via SMS. Once the user clicks on the malware containing a file or URL, the malicious virus starts hacking the digital activities of the device. 57% of the organizations reportedly experienced mobile phishing attacks.
4- Mobile Ransomware:
Ransomware steals delicate data from the target devices, including; documents, photos, videos, credentials etc. Besides, ransomware attack activities include blackmailing the target user and demanding a ransom amount. On the other hand, if the user declines to settle the ransom money, the hacker can blackmail the user of either erasing or leaking the confidential information. The most vulnerable target of ransomware is corporate businesses.
5- Mobile Adware:
Adware is pop-ups we encounter while visiting websites. The annoying adware collects user data online. Adware can also steal user information. As in many cases, malicious programmes had found to do malvertising. Adware can force users to download a programme that can harm their mobile devices.
Now, that we have discussed the common types of malware, let’s come to the point; how you can protect your device from malware attacks?
Protect Your Smart Devices from Mobile Malware Attacks:
Do you know which operating system is more secure?
Well, to some extent, both are vulnerable to security threats.
But, researches showed that Android devices are 50% more likely to get infected by a malware programme.
So, how can you secure your mobile device from malware?
Here is how you can safeguard and protect your mobile phones from security threats.
Use secure WiFis – By surfing the internet with a protected WiFi connection, your system can block unwanted third-party programs to infect your device.
- Keep your mobile OS updated – Most importantly, make sure your mobile phone runs the new OS version. Subsequently, is significant to run the latest OS version to protect your device from malware attacks.
- Click wisely – Do not open any link your find online. Make sure you read your emails carefully and click the attached files only if you know the source is authentic. Certainly, malicious emails can infect your mobile phone within seconds.
- Install apps from trusted sources – Do not install apps from unauthentic sources. Ensure the apps are genuine before you decide to install them.
- Never root/jailbreak your device – Rooting or jailbreaking destructs all the firewalls of the operating system. Meanwhile, rooting or jailbreaking make the OS more vulnerable to hacking attacks. Don’t ever try to root or jailbreak your phone.
- Install anti-malware – Above all, protect your phone with anti-malware software. Anti-malware helps you detect security threats before they damage your mobile phone.
The use of mobile malware is rising. Hackers are continuously developing advanced malware apps to infect the latest version of cell phones. In conclusion, the only best option to keep your loved ones safe from such a menace is installing anti-malware apps on your mobile devices. Besides, parents can also utilize parental control apps to safeguard their juveniles from online security threats.