By Onome Amuge.
Kaspersky has identified Nigeria as one of the most vulnerable countries to mobile cyber threats in the world as adware detections in the most populous black nation rose 94 per cent in the second quarter of 2023.
The global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, in a new report on global cyber threats,found that threats to mobile devices increased in the second quarter of 2023, with adware and mobile banking threats confirmed as the most prevalent mobile threats detected in the Middle East, Turkiye and the African region.
According to the report, there was a significant rise particularly in adware detections which rose 94 per cent in Nigeria, 49 per cent in Turkiye, 27 per cent in South Africa, 39 per cent in Kenya, and 6 per cent in the Middle East.
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Banking trojans, which are used to hunt for data related to online banking and e-payment systems, posed a concerning threat for mobile users, specifically in Turkiye, which recorded a twofold increase (102 per cent) in Trojan-Banker detections in Q2 2023 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2022.
The report noted that the number of mobile threat detections particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and Turkiye increased by 5 per cent as users increasingly rely on their mobile devices to share personal data and connect to corporate networks, the report noted that tt.
However, it stated that these threats were blocked by Kaspersky Mobile Solutions, adding that a total of 5.7 million mobile malware, adware, and riskware attacks were blocked in the period under review.
Kaspersky disclosed that the most common threat to mobile devices was potentially unwanted software (RiskTool), noting that 30.8 per cent of all RiskTool threats were detected. It added that a total of 370,327 malicious installation packages were detected, of which: 59,167 packages were related to mobile banking Trojans,while 1,318 packages were mobile ransomware Trojans.
Meanwhile, threat statistics in the reports were more prevalent on Android devices which hold a dominant market share in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkiye. The researchers observed that Apple devices are not immune to cyber threats but are difficult to monitor due to OS specifics.
Anton Kivva, Malware analyst and team lead at Kaspersky, noted that with the growing adoption of smartphones and mobile banking in the Middle East, Turkiye, Africa region, cybercriminals are likely to further increase their targeting of mobile devices.
“We can expect a surge in phishing attacks, mobile malware, and malicious apps disguised as legitimate financial services. Cybercriminals will continue to exploit social engineering tactics, such as SMS phishing and voice phishing, to trick mobile users into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious content,” Kivva said.
The malware analyst advised individuals and organisations in the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa to prioritise mobile cybersecurity measures, including robust antivirus software, regular updates, user education, and vigilance against social engineering tactics to safeguard their mobile devices and sensitive data.
Enlightening users on preventive measures against mobile threats, Kaspersky suggested downloading apps only from official stores like Apple AppStore, Google Play or Amazon Appstore
“Apps from these markets are not 100 per cent failsafe, but at least they get checked by the moderators and there is some filtration system — not every app can get onto these stores. It’s worth looking through user reviews of an app to see if there is any negative feedback on its functionality,” it said.
The organisation also advised individuals to check the permissions of apps that they use and think carefully before permitting an app, especially when it comes to high-risk permissions such as ‘Accessibility Services’.
It noted further that a reliable mobile security solution like Kaspersky Premium can help users to detect malicious apps and adware before they start behaving badly on their devices.
Kaspersky also encouraged users to update their operating systems and important apps, stressing that many safety issues can be solved by installing updated versions of software.
The mobile industry was also urged to enhance cyber protection at all levels, including security for users, by providing tailored cybersecurity services.