Drop in mobile malware attacks in PH — Kaspersky – Manila Bulletin


The number of mobile malware attacks in the Philippines, one of the biggest mobile user countries in the world, has fallen sharply over the past two years, but users should not let their guard down, this week warned. cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

Among Southeast Asian countries, the downward trend in mobile threat activity was seen not only in the Philippines, but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

According to Kaspersky experts, the downward trend does not mean that mobile malware will soon disappear. On the contrary, the company urged mobile users to remain vigilant.

Kaspersky data showed that detected attack attempts from Filipino mobile users fell to 55,617 or 49% in 2020 from 110,128 in 2019.

In 2021, malware attempts targeting smartphone and tablet users fell to 34,010 or 38.84% from the previous year.

In Thailand and Vietnam, malware attacks against mobile users in 2021 were even higher than in 2019, at 32% and 8%, respectively.

However, cybercriminals are only getting more inventive and attacks are becoming sophisticated in terms of functionality and malware vectors, Kaspersky pointed out.

This time, malicious codes in the form of Trojans are injected into third-party adware modules, loaded into legitimate programs under the guise of updates, or added to harmless apps approved by app stores.

Current targets are apps on Google Play and APKPure, a popular alternative Android app store.


Trojan horses are used by cybercriminals to delete, block, modify or copy data, and they disrupt the performance of computer devices or networks.

Unlike viruses and worms, Trojan horses cannot self-replicate or make copies of themselves.

Last year, Kaspersky experts discovered the very first mobile trojan specialized in stealing mobile game accounts: the Gamethief malware.

This Trojan targeted the accounts of the mobile version of the game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

In the Philippines, major mobile malware detected includes Trojan-Downloader which downloads and installs new versions of malware including Trojans and AdWare on victim computers and runs automatically when the operating system starts .

It is frequently used in the initial infection of visitors to websites containing exploits or a subset of malware containing data or executable code that can take advantage of one or more vulnerabilities in software running on a local or remote computer .

The second is the Trojan-Dropper, used by hackers to secretly install Trojans or viruses and to prevent malware from being detected by antivirus solutions.

The third is Trojan-SMS used to send text messages from infected mobile devices to premium rate mobile numbers.

An example is the Faketoken Android malware which sends bulk SMS messages to expensive international numbers and disguises itself in the system as a standard SMS application.

The fourth is the Trojan-Backdoor, one of the simplest but potentially the most dangerous as it can load all kinds of malware onto its system.

It is often used to set up botnets. Unbeknownst to the user, their computer is part of a botnet that is being used for attacks.

While there is also a decrease in mobile banking malware attacks, around 97,661 new mobile banking Trojans worldwide were detected by Kaspersky products and technologies in 2021.

There are also banking Trojans that allow cybercriminals to steal money from victims’ online bank accounts and e-wallets.

A recent Kaspersky study found that 75% of Filipinos now prefer to use smartphones for digital transactions.

In the same study, nearly half of respondents admitted to facing cyber threats while using mobile e-wallets. But only 25% of respondents confirmed using security solutions.

“The future is definitely mobile here in Southeast Asia. At first glance, it may seem that cybercriminals are becoming less active due to the decrease in mobile malware attacks. But it’s a global trend and it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re safer,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“As we increasingly adopt digital payment apps, we are unknowingly putting more of our hard-earned money into our devices. Our devices generally remain vulnerable to simple malware attacks. action here in SEA, I therefore urge digital payment providers and regulators to help us encourage users to protect their mobile devices.

Download apps only from official sources, he advised.

It is not a 100% security guarantee, but there are much less malware in official stores.

Even when malware escapes moderation, it is usually removed from the store fairly quickly.

Whenever possible, use apps from trusted developers with a good reputation to minimize the risk of encountering malware, Kaspersky said.

Ignore apps that promise payouts you’ve never heard of or overly generous prices. It’s almost necessarily a scam, he says.

Don’t give apps permissions they don’t need to work. Most malware will not be able to fully deploy without potentially dangerous permissions such as accessibility access, text message access and installation of unknown apps, Kaspersky added. Use a reliable mobile antivirus that will detect and block malware that tries to enter your mobile device.




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