Mobile malware is one of the cyberattacks known to be on a rampage in recent times. It can be very frustrating when present on a mobile device. This is because it puts the information on the device at risk of losing data, sharing sensitive information, or being hijacked.
During the first few months of 2022, mobile malware attacks increased by 500%.
Hackers are continually developing much more sophisticated types of malware targeting mobile devices. Because of this, there is an increasing need for individuals and businesses to keep their mobile devices safe and risk-free.
If you use a mobile device for most of your digital or online activities, this article offers vital tips for protecting your device from various malware attacks. Read on to learn more.
What is Mobile Malware?
Mobile malware is malicious software written to target mobile devices, this causes the devices to either crash, collapse partially, or leak confidential information stored on the devices they are found. It is getting harder to keep up with the types of malware due to the increased frequency and strength of its attack and it has become a security threat in the technology industry. As there is a rise in mobile malware and the types of cyberattacks being developed daily, more of this is expected to be detected in the coming years. As a result, actions need to be taken to prevent these cyber and mobile attacks.
Recent research discovered that security programs successfully blocked 6,463,414 mobile malware in the first quarter of 2022.
Types of Mobile Malware
There are different types of mobile malware. Each is based on its mode of installation or distribution, the intensity of damage done to the device, or data on the attacked device. These types include:
- Remote Access Tools (RATs): This allows remote access to a wide range of information from the infected device. This information may include: call history, browser history, address books, applications, and SMS messages.
- Trojans or Viruses: Most viruses or Trojans majorly change a device’s language or wallpaper, but some are developed with more malicious intent like stealing banking information or passwords. A seemingly harmless application may contain a virus or Trojan.
- Madware or Spyware: Madware (mTrojanadware) is usually installed without the consent of the device user, and it is aimed at spamming the device with numerous ads by collecting data from the infected device.
- Ransomware: This is usually a form of malware used to hijack a device, log the user out, and a ransom payment is then demanded before the device access can be released to the owner.
- Advertising clickbait: This is malware used to trick a user into clicking an ad link to generate income.
Mode of Distribution of Mobile Malware
Mobile malware can be distributed in many ways. These ways are mostly used to trick unsuspecting device users into having such malware on their devices. The ways include the following:
- Spoofing: Spoofing is a way of disguising websites or content as trusted information of the victim. A spoof tends to trick the user of a device to click a malicious link.
- Phishing: It’s the act of getting confidential information via email, SMS, or messaging application. This is, in a way, similar to spoofing.
- Jailbreaking: is the act of tampering with a device’s operating system by removing its internal protection, thereby giving unrestricted access to the device.
- Use of non-secure Wi-Fi/ URLs: The use of non-secure Wi-Fi or URL makes the data being shared vulnerable to attack by malware.
What to do to Protect Your Devices from Malware attack
While there is always a chance that your mobile device may be at risk of a malware attack, the good news is that there are ways of preventing an attack from happening.
Ways to protect your mobile devices include:
- Never jailbreak your device: Jailbreaking removes the internal protection of a device, while this may give you unrestricted access, it also gives unrestricted access to malware attacks.
- Download applications from trusted sources only: Untrusted application sources have a high chance of being sources of malware.
- Update device software: Regular updates of device software give less room for malware attacks.
- Use an antivirus application on devices: An antivirus application, which is an essential tool in cybersecurity, helps to detect and get rid of malware effectively.
- Encryption of data: Encrypted data is always secure even under malware attacks.
- Use a VPN: The use of a Virtual Private Network helps in creating a vacuum that gives secure access and allows secure sharing of information over Wi-Fi.
What to do When Attacked by a Mobile Malware
There are numerous steps to take when your mobile device has been attacked by malware, these steps are used to get rid of the malware with minimal risk to your device or information, these steps are:
- Disconnect from the internet: When a device has been attacked by malware while connected to the internet either by Wi-Fi, ethernet cable, or phone, the network is to be terminated immediately to prevent the exchange of data with the malware.
- Monitor your online behavior: Be careful of what links you click on, and do not open suspicious-looking websites or URLs
- Scan attacked device: The attacked device can be scanned with numerous trusted antivirus applications.
- Backup the device: Backup a device means saving the data on a device onto another device. Copy all data from the affected device to another device with enough storage capacity.
- Reinstall Operating System (OS): Reinstalling the operating system gets rid of the old affected operating system.
- Change passwords: All passwords saved on the affected device should be changed as this stops all access from other devices trying to access accounts locked with the passwords.
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