In its Threat Intelligence Report for H2 2017, Finnish telecom major, Nokia, has revealed that malware infections on mobile devices are at an all-time high. While things are getting worse across all platforms, the situation is apparently especially grave for Android, even with Google taking more proactive steps in recent times to fortify Play Store by weeding out apps and games that don’t abide by its guidelines. According to the report, the biggest threats are posed by fake apps that masquerade as the real thing, like the recently-discovered fake WhatsApp Messenger that was reportedly downloaded by over a million unsuspecting users before it was finally removed from the Play Store by Google.
Most of these apps contain contain malicious code that either allow the developers to serve ads or mine user data without permission. While outright malicious apps are getting rarer on the Play Store thanks to initiatives like Play Protect, they are a dime a dozen on third-party app stores. According to the report from Nokia, the Uapush adware is the most prevalent malware on Android, while the Jisun ransomware and the Marcher banking trojan came in at second and third respectively. The average infection rate was 0.68%, with smartphones accounting for 72% of all infected devices.
Published twice every year, Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report examines the trends for malware infections in connected devices. The information in the report is derived from data collected by the ‘Nokia NetGuard Security Management Center’ and, suggests that infections on Windows-based PCs are on the rise as well. Around 28% of all such devices were found to have some sort of malware installed on them compared to 22% last year. Malware infestation on iOS, meanwhile, remained steady at around 4%. With the next version of Nokia Threat Intelligence report expected to be published in Q1 2018, it will be interesting to see if the recent steps taken by Google are making any difference to the worsening malware situation.