It looks like mobile malware is on the rise. Kaspersky Lab recently announced its Mobile Virusology mobile malware report, which compared mobile malware in 2016 to that of 2015. The results? Well, for starters, there were three times as many malware installations in 2016 as in 2015 and a total of 8.5 million malicious installations were identified.
That is a pretty huge number and Kaspersky highlights just how big in its report. According to the company, that volume of malware equates to around 50 percent of the mobile malware detected in the previous 11 years.
Kaspersky also looked into the type of malware being installed, revealing that the most widespread type of trojan was related to advertising and it accounted for 16 of the top 20 malware programs. Advertising trojans are basically able to root the device, then aggressively display ads on the screen. Not only that, but they render the device unusable and can even head to the Google Play Store and buy apps without any user input.
Advertising trojans, however, weren’t the only mobile malware in the report. Mobile ransomware was also used quite a bit. In fact, more than 150,000 unique users in 167 countries fell victim to mobile ransomware, representing a 1.6 times increase compared to in 2015. Mobile ransomware basically overlays app windows with messages, making it impossible to use the device until the user pays a ransom. Generally, that ransom falls in between $100 and $200 and has to be paid in the form of pre-paid iTunes gift cards, according to the report.
In many cases, users themselves unknowingly installed the malware. For example, an app masquerading as Pokémon Go on the Google Play Store was downloaded as many as 500,000 times.
So where is mobile malware the most prevalent? According to the report, Russia, Australia, and Ukraine were the top three countries affected by the malware but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful no matter where you live.