Hidden app malware attacks jumped 30% in 2019

Mobile devices aren’t safe from malicious attacks and a new report from McAfee finds that some apps are even hiding and attacking mobile user resources on mobile devices.

According to the data, this particular threat increased by 30% in 2019 from 2018. Around 50% of all malicious activities were represented by hidden apps in 2019.

The latest Mobile Threat Report 2020 also found that hackers use third-party logins and counterfeit gaming videos to target customers.

Methods to attack customers last year included backdoors and mining cryptocurrencies.

“Consumers are connected more than ever, and as we look at the current security landscape, as well as future risks, we want to make sure we are doing everything to help consumers protect what matters more to them— their personal data, as well as their family and friends,” said Terry Hicks, Executive Vice President, Consumer Business Group at McAfee. “Mobile threats are playing a game of hide and steal, and we will continue to empower consumers to safeguard their most valued assets and data.”

Hackers have gotten smart and are now abusing the popularity of gaming to share their malicious apps via links in game chat apps and cheat videos.

Apps tend to mimic real ones but serve unwanted ads and collect user data.

Popular apps including FaceApp, Spotify and Call of Duty all had fake versions.

McAfee also found that malware known as Shopper (LeifAccess) took advantage of accessibility features in Android to create accounts, download apps and share reviews. Fake warnings had been used to get users to activate accessibility services.

In addition, the researchers found that South Korean transit apps included a fake library and plugin that could exfiltrate confidential files called MalBus.

“There exists a growing trend for many apps to remain hidden, stealing precious resources and important data from the device that acts as the remote control to consumers digital world,” said Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist. “Now, more than ever, it is critical consumers make themselves aware of modern threats and the steps they can take to defend themselves against them, such as staying on legitimate app stores and reading reviews carefully.”

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.