MALICIOUS APPLICATIONS

MOBiOver 20 million Kenyans access the internet today through mobile phones. As such, cyber criminals are increasingly targeting mobile phones especially android devices with malware and Trojan downloaders

Writers of malicious programs are now increasingly tricking users of mobile devices into installing potent applications disguised as legitimate apps on Google play and other app stores. According to research, malware was ranked as one of the top ten prevalent attacks in the first quarter of the year 2016.

 “It is clear that there is a growing presence of threats targeting mobile devices, in addition to a growing trend of malware being used to target corporate data, especially in countries where the largest portion of internet usage is through mobile devices, “said Alistair Freeman, CEO, ESET East Africa.

He revealed that “ESET recently discovered fake versions of Prisma, a popular photo transformation app on the Google Play Store. Among them were also dangerous Trojan Downloaders.”

Before release of the Android version of Prisma, fake versions of this app, including several dangerous Trojan downloaders flooded the Google play store. By the time of its removal, Prisma imitations had reached over 1.5 million downloads. The removal came after a notice was issued by ESET to Google.

Prisma is a unique photo editor created by Prisma labs, Inc. After having achieved excellent ratings among users on iTunes where it was first released, Android users were eager for it. Before the official release date however, fake versions appeared on the store riding the wave of user impatience. The most dangerous fake Prisma apps found on Google Play before the genuine Prisma app release were the Trojan Downloaders detected by ESET. In the sub-Saharan region, Kenya faces a disproportionately larger threat in the mobile devices sphere as mobile data continues to drive internet subscriptions with 23.7 million users.

It is important to note that most of the fake apps found on Google Play don’t have any similar functionality with the original versions. Instead they only display annoying ads, warnings or fake surveys, luring the user into providing their personal information or subscribing to bogus and costly SMS services. ESET Mobile Security detects these apps as fake apps and protects the users from them.

According to the Kenya Cyber Security report 2015, cyber crime is so advanced such that it is almost impossible to detect intrusions without the use of progressive, continuous monitoring and detection methods.

ESET maintains a high detection rate on their products including ESET Mobile Security & ESET NOD32 Antivirus. This includes a Device Monitoring and Application Audit, the latter of which allows you to see which apps actually request unnecessary permissions such as making phone calls, tracking your location, reading your browsing history, contacts, SMS, photos and calendar. Some of these malicious apps go to the extent of sharing your personal information with 3rd party ad companies.

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