Kaspersky Lab has recently published a new report and according to which the number of mobile malware attacks detected in 2017 has increased to 42.7 million.
This increase in attacks was in complete contradiction to the evolution of detected mobile malicious installation packages, which had right now amounted to 5,730,916 in 2017, which is almost 1.5 times lower than 2016.
The number of attacked users, however, have increased almost 1.2 times when compared to the previous year. According to Kaspersky, they protected have 4,909,900 unique users of Android devices from the beginning of January until the end of December 2017.
This Moscow-based security firm also reported that it has detected 94,368 mobile banking Trojans in 2017, 1.3 times less than in the previous year. This type of malware attacked 259,828 users in 164 countries, where Russia, Australia, and Turkey being hit the most.
More on the report states that the number of users attacked by rooting malware has decreased a lot from the last year, yet this type of malware has continued to be popular, leading to nearly half of the Trojans in the company’s Top 20 list. Also, such malware usually attempts to gain super-user rights by exploiting system vulnerabilities.
Their decline in popularity among cybercriminals can be explained mainly by the decline in the number of devices still running on older Android versions. Android 5.0 or older was found on 57% of the devices in 2017, while Android 6.0 or newer doubled in 2017 when compared to 2016.
Here, Kaspersky added that “Newer versions of Android don’t yet have common vulnerabilities that allow super-user rights to be gained, which is disrupting the activity of rooting malware”.
Even after that, rooting malware continues to be a major threat to Android users, as they are difficult to detect and lists a variety of capabilities. Here, rooting malware installs modules in system folders to ensure persistence and also can sometimes resist a reset to factory settings.
Here, a special mentioning needs to be stated about the rooting malware category include Ztorg, which has infected 100 apps in Google Play and was downloaded tens of thousands of times, and Dvmap, which was downloaded over 50,000 times from the official application store.
In 2017, Kaspersky also discovered new WAP Trojans, malware families that usually follow links received from the command and control (C&C) server and then ‘click’ on page elements using a specially created JS file. Such malware can visit regular advertising sites or pages with WAP subscriptions.
Mobile banking malware also evolved in 2017, where Kaspersky added that “offering new ways to steal money ”. For instance, a modification of FakeToken was observed targeting apps for booking taxis, hotels, tickets, and the like, in addition to the usually attacked financial apps.
Here, while the latest Android releases attempt to prevent malware from performing malicious actions, banking Trojans last year, also found new ways to bypass these protections. A Svpeng variant observed last year was abusing accessibility services to grant itself some permissions such as the ability to send and receive SMS, make calls, and read contacts, in addition to adding itself to the list of device admins to prevent removal.
Mobile ransomware Trojans were highly active last year and even has registered massive growth during the first half of the year when detection was up 1.6 times than the entire 2016. Starting June, however, the activity of these malware families returned to normal.
Here, Kaspersky added that this segment was dominated by the Congur ransomware, with over 83% of all installed packages in 2017 belonging to this family. This simple malware changes device’s PIN code and instructs the owner to contact the attackers via the QQ messenger.
Last year, Trojan-Ransom malware have also experienced the highest overall growth, followed by RiskTool threats. Trojan-SMS installation packages and Trojan-Dropper malware decreased.
Overall, users in over 230 countries and territories were targeted by malware in 2017, with Iran, Bangladesh, and Indonesia emerging as the top attacked countries on the list.