Malicious mobile apps decrease in final quarter of 2017

Mobile phone malware

A new report from digital threat management company RiskIQ states malicious mobile apps declined at the end of 2017.

To reach these findings the firm analyzed 120 mobile app stores and it puts the decline down largely to a decrease in the inventory of AndroidAPKDescargar, the most prolific dealer of blacklisted apps.

Feral apps -- those available for download outside of a store on the web -- fell in popularity for the first time in several quarters too, slipping from the number two spot and giving way to three other stores.

The top stores hosting blacklisted apps are AndroidAPKDescargar with 7,419, comprising 41 percent of the apps RiskIQ observed in their store. The store had 4,083 blacklisted apps, accounting for 86 percent of those listed, and 9apps had 3,644 blacklisted, 15 percent of the total apps.

Malicious app producers are also seeking to cash in on the cryptocurrency boom. In November, RiskIQ researchers found a mobile app that was trying to pass itself off as a cryptocurrency market price app. This was found to be part of the 'bankbot' family of mobile Trojans and would monitor the device that installed it for a list of target apps. If one of these was launched while the Trojan was installed, the Trojan would put an overlay on the legitimate app and collect sensitive information, such as login credentials from the banking customer.

"Securing the mobile app ecosystem continues to be a challenge for app stores of all sizes, but efforts to improve version control, monitor for abuse, employ verification techniques, and offer security education can help," says Mike Wyatt, director of product operations at RiskIQ. "Tracking the use of brand names and likeness is an equally daunting challenge for corporations. Brands should evaluate and implement solutions that constantly monitor their digital footprint online and in mobile app stores."

You can find out more in the full report on the RiskIQ website.

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