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Mobile malware on the rise in Africa

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Kaspersky has blocked over 30 000 mobile malware attacks in SA, Kenya and Nigeria in only six months.


This is out of some 206 000 mobile malware attacks blocked by the company’s solutions in the META region from January to June this year. Nigeria was top with 14 071, Kenya next with 10 697, and finally SA with 5 499.

Notably, for African countries monitored, Nigeria trails only Egypt which had 19 466 attacks blocked, highlighting how prevalent mobile threats have become in this highly connected country.

In fact, Kaspersky’s latest research reveals that when looking at the top ten countries by share of users attacked by mobile malware, Nigeria comes in eighth (at 11.76%). Even though Kenya and SA might not feature as prominently, the mobile malware threat is still a concern, along with the shift to more targeted attacks these countries are seeing.

Prevalent behaviours

The top three most prevalent malware behaviours that Kaspersky has seen in Kenya and Nigeria are Trojans, Trojan-downloaders; and Trojan-droppers. In SA, these are Trojans, Trojan-proxy; and Trojan-downloaders.

Trojan-downloaders download and install new versions of malicious programmes, including Trojans and adware on victim computers. Trojan-droppers usually save a range of files containing malicious programmes to the victim’s drive. Once installed, a Trojan-proxy allows a bad actor to use the infected device as a proxy to connect to the Internet.

Bethwel Opil, enterprise sales manager at Kaspersky in Africa, says mobile malware remains a top concern for business and personal users in Africa. 

“These attacks are usually very diverse with hackers leveraging a range of methodologies and technologies to compromise victim’s devices. Trojan-downloaders and Trojan-droppers are especially dangerous given their potential to contain significantly damaging payloads,” he adds.

Protection, better than cure

Over and above installing cyber security solutions on their mobile devices, Kaspersky recommends users enhance their security by creating strong passwords on their smartphones, which render the device unusable if it is lost or stolen.

In addition, it recommends to never trust requests coming via SMS. “Mobile malware uses text messages, so users should never respond to requests for credit card details or other private information.”

The security giant aso urges users to look for the the lock icon in the browser address before entering personal details on a website,  and to install apps from reputable sources.

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