G DATA mobile malware analysis: malicious corona trackers are on the rise


An analysis by G DATA CyberDefense shows that more and more malicious corona trackers have appeared in the past six months. At first glance, malicious trackers seem to provide a practical overview with real-time information about current infections. However, such trackers can infect users’ mobile devices with adware or ransomware. The analysis also shows that more than two million Android apps have been infected with malware in the past six months. A new Android app with malware is released every eight seconds. Compared to last year, this is an increase of ten percent.

According to the researchers, cyber criminals use so-called droppers to install the malicious corona trackers. Cyber ​​criminals upload an app that does not contain malware to the Google Play Store. Once the app has been downloaded and installed, the app will contact the attacker’s server. The attacker could then send updates containing malicious files to the victim’s mobile device. In addition to corona trackers, cyber criminals often use the names of popular games to trick victims into downloading malicious apps.

Cheap but dangerous

The analysis shows that cheap smartphones remain problematic. More and more smartphones are coming onto the market with pre-installed malicious apps or manipulated operating systems. Once activated, the smartphones take on a life of their own, installing apps or sending text messages at night without the user’s knowledge and consent. However, the manufacturer is not always responsible for installing malware on the smartphone. Cyber ​​criminals take advantage of the ability to manipulate the devices during transmission. It can also happen that this happens through an intermediary. The problem is that malware is often deeply embedded in the firmware and removing it is a costly and complex process requiring specialist knowledge. Inexpensive devices are particularly popular as an entry-level model with children. G DATA CyberDefense therefore advises victims to buy a new device immediately and have the old device professionally erased and recycled.

“During the pandemic, more and more use is made of the smartphone. People want to keep in touch with their loved ones or prefer to pay contactless via their smartphone. Good protection is therefore vital, ”said Eddy Willems, security evangelist at G DATA CyberDefense. The dangers to smartphones will therefore continue to increase. After all, mobile devices have become an integral part of everyday life and take over many routine functions. In addition, personal data is increasingly being stored on mobile devices. It is therefore important that users protect their mobile devices properly, handle data with care, ensure strong passwords and always provide their device with the latest updates. ”

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