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Mobile malware next frontier in cybersecurity battle: Expert

Threats are coming through open networks or apps such as games or utility applications, or apps that promise to fight some form of mobile phone virus.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – Mobile malware poses as much threat to businesses as traditional desktop malware with cybersecurity experts now saying more needs to be done to protect mobile devices from attacks.  

Check Point Head of Sandblast Mobile Business Jeremy Kaye says mobile malware is becoming a major business concern than it previously has been due to the rapid growth of mobile phones use around the world.

He says threats are coming through apps such as games or utility apps, or apps that promise to fight some form of mobile phone virus.

Kaye’s comment aligns with a study conducted in Ghana stating that by 2019, mobile malware will amount to one-third of total malware.

He emphasizes the need for companies to invest in prevention and protection of mobile malware even as they invest in the security of desktops.

“Typically, many people use their mobiles to do their personal things as well as work-related tasks. If the user was to download an app that had a malware, then the malware could easily infiltrate an organization’s information through the phone quite easily,” Kaye says.

But apps aren’t the only source of mobile of mobile malware. According to Kaye, networks, especially free Wi-Fi can be a source of malware.

“A hacker only needs to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of interacting directly with the hotspot, you end up sending your information to the hacker. This helps them access important emails, credit card information and other security details.”

Last year, Check Point’s mobile threat research team identified a new variant of an Android malware that was sending fraudulent premium SMS messages charging users’ accounts for fake services without their knowledge.

Google Play data found that the malware had infected at least 50 apps and was downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 million times before the affected apps were removed.

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“The new strain of malware is dubbed “ExpensiveWall,” after one of the apps it uses to infect devices. “Lovely Wallpaper.” ExpensiveWall is a new variant of a malware found earlier this year on Google Play. The entire malware family has now been downloaded between 5.9 million and 21.1 million times,” Checkpoint says in its website.

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