Android Users Can Expect More Threats in 2018
Android users, listen up. 2017 has proven that cyber criminals, schemers, and malware distributors have moved on to mobile devices, and the prediction is that malware designed specifically for Android devices will rise in numbers next year. With 2017 being almost over, it is easy to see that ransomware and potentially unwanted programs were dominating the virtual world. Windows and Mac OS users were facing highly aggressive file-encrypting ransomware and less dangerous screen-lockers. That is unlikely to change. It is unlikely that we will see a big change in the type of malware that is targeted at mobile device users running iOS or Android either. In this report, we discuss the threats that have been rising up most recently, as well as the threats that are likely to reign the following year.
An Oxford-based virtual security firm, Sophos, has recently released a forecast for 2018 malware. According to the research conducted, next year, Android users are most likely to have to deal with ransomware and potentially unwanted programs. Ransomware can be divided into two different groups. The first kind of ransomware is the file-encrypting one, and it is the most dangerous because, in most cases, victims are unable to recover their personal files. This means that if this kind of malware slithers in, personal files might be lost forever. Then we have the screen-locking ransomware that, in most cases, locks the screen and displays a misleading notification to trick victims into thinking that their systems’ are blocked or even that their personal files are encrypted. It is much more difficult to describe potentially unwanted programs/applications (PUP or PUA).
Potentially unwanted programs are usually the kind of programs that use some kind of service to trick users into letting them in. PUPs can work as adware (advertising-supported software), and they can hijack browsers by changing their settings. PUPs can have official download pages, but they are often spread via unreliable sources and by malicious installers. Also, they are often seen bundled with other apps that can be malicious or unreliable. The trickiest thing is that, in many cases, PUPs can offer somewhat useful services that are meant to distract users from the malicious activity that they are capable of. Another tricky thing is that potentially unwanted programs are sometimes distributed via the Google Play app, which, generally, is considered to be a trustworthy source for Android apps. Malware, such as Sockbot Trojan, was found being spread by eight different apps on the Google Play store just recently, so it is not just potentially unwanted programs that we need to be cautious about.
According to the data report by Sophos, 23% of all threats attacking Android devices were potentially unwanted programs. The rest 77% was malware. The largest PUP is responsible for more than third of all detections, and it is called “Skymobi Pay.” Other PUPs that were discovered most frequently include Dowgin, Riskware SmsReg, HyPay, Multi Ads, and Android Fictus. When it comes to malicious apps, the most prevalent infections came from Rootnik, Dloadr, Axent, SLocker, and PornClk families. These families are likely to be prevalent in 2018 as well. Overall, people using Android devices, need to be most cautious about ransomware, screen-lockers, and potentially unwanted programs. Less prevalent threats might include threats capable of stealing data, installing malicious apps and sending SMS messages without user’s permission, and communicating with remote servers.
Although there are certain types of malware and potentially unwanted programs that are likely to stay and follow us into 2018, there are measures that can be taken to minimize the chances of lettings this malware and PUPs in. Android users are recommended to be more cautious when installing unfamiliar apps. Although Google Play has gained a bad rep for letting some threats through, it is still the most reputable source for apps. Another thing that must be taken care of is the protection of the Android OS. Installing and using reliable, up-to-date security apps is crucial. Keeping up with security updates is extremely important as well. In conclusion, although it is hard to predict what steps cyber criminals and schemers will take next, it is most likely that Android users will suffer ransomware attacks and unreliable PUPs in most cases. You can keep malware and potentially unwanted programs way only by employing appropriate security measures.