More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet computers. If you are like most people, you primarily use your mobile device to browse the web, shop, play online games, interact with social media and more — and all that time you spend online on your mobile device puts your mobile device at heightened risk of malware infection.
Although it took some time for malicious hackers to devise methods of attacking mobile devices, varieties of mobile malware are on the rise. Here are a few different examples of well-known mobile malware that is currently circulating the web to compel you to invest in mobile security solutions today.
Remote Access Tools
As the name suggests, remote access tools (RATs) allow an individual to access a device remotely. Sometimes, RATs are used in a legitimate capacity to provide users with necessary support, but often, RATs are built into malware to allow cybercriminals full access to a user’s device and network. RATs are most often used by attackers as a means of collecting information about an individual user; once a RAT is installed on a device, the criminal controlling the RAT can see a user’s applications, call history, address books, web browsing history and SMS data. Worse, RATs allow attackers to send SMS messages, enable cameras and log GPS data, among other remote actions. RATs can remain on devices unnoticed for months or years — although criminals are likely to use their access sooner to capitalize on their successful attack.
Cybercrime can be lucrative for attackers, especially when they employ bank Trojans. This type of malware is designed specifically to steal login credentials for online banking or otherwise acquire access to sensitive financial information that attackers can use to scam users out of their hard-earned savings. Trojans get onto devices by masquerading as a legitimate application that users want, but once installed, they will execute malicious code that puts users at risk. Users would be wise to avoid engaging in any type of mobile banking, as bank Trojans are not the only ways that attackers can infiltrate financial accounts through mobile devices.
Perhaps the most popular type of malware to emerge in the last decade or so, ransomware locks a user out of their device or data and demands a ransom for its safe return. Unfortunately, in many cases, paying the ransom does not result in an end to the attack; sometimes, criminals will leave themselves a backdoor into the device that allows for additional attacks in the future, and other times, criminals will neglect to return data or device control entirely. Ransoms are often requested in some form of cryptocurrency, which makes the payment untraceable. Ransomware can be among the most frustrating forms of malware for victims, and the amount of ransomware designed for mobile use is increasing.
Even though the crypto economy is currently tumultuous, many cybercriminals are still eager to accumulate as much cryptocurrency as they can. Unfortunately, creating cryptocurrency requires immense computing power; the energy consumption of all crypto-asset operations in the United States equals the electricity usage of all home computers and residential lighting in the country, combined. Cybercriminals will happily offload the cost of cryptomining on victims through cryptomining malware, which hijacks the processing power of devices for the purpose of creating cryptocurrency. Oftentimes, cryptominers hide themselves in the background of a device’s processes, so victims may not realize that they have been infected by malware until the battery life of their devices has been obliterated.
Advertising Click Fraud
Online advertising often operates on a pay-per-click basis, with companies hosting advertisements earning money based on the amount of traffic they send to companies with ads. Thus, the more clicks an ad receives, the better the website owner gets paid. Some nefarious website owners will deploy malware designed to click advertisements over and over again, generating extra income by artificially inflating traffic statistics. Mobile devices infected with click fraud malware might notice browser windows they did not open or pop-up ads on their screens. Although click fraud malware does not directly harm device users, it is a nuisance that should be removed as soon as possible.
As the number of mobile devices rises, the interest in attacking mobile devices grows. You should protect yourself and your devices with strong mobile security because you never want to succumb to any type of mobile malware.