Mobile attacks slide in 2021 but malware get more sophisticated: Kaspersky


Posted at Feb 23 2022 05:52 PM

MANILA - The number of cyberattacks on mobile devices declined in 2021, but fraudsters got more sophisticated as they target people’s gaming and banking credentials, said cybersecurity firm Kaspersky on Wednesday.

Mobile attacks declined to 46 million in 2021 compared to 63 million from the previous year, according to Kaspersky’s Mobile Threats in 2021 report.

In 2021, Kaspersky said it saw a steady decline in attacks on mobile devices, while cybercriminals consolidated their efforts to focus on more dangerous (and profitable) threats instead.

“Indeed, there have been fewer mobile attacks in general, however, the attacks we are still seeing have become more complex and harder to spot," Kaspersky security researcher Tatyana Shishkova said.

"On top of that, with mobile banking and payment apps becoming even more widespread, there is a higher chance of cybercriminals targeting these more actively," she added.

Cybercriminals also targeted mobile gaming credentials in 2021 which are sold on the dark web, the company said.

Kaspersky said attackers upgraded their banking Trojans, with more than 95,000 new versions detected last year – many with improved capabilities. 

“For example, the Fakecalls banking Trojan is now capable of dropping calls whenever users try to contact the bank, replacing audio recordings with prepared answers from the operator. This way, users are tricked into thinking that they are talking to a real bank employee or the standard robot answering machine, and they unwittingly share sensitive information with the attackers,” the cybersecurity firm said. 
“The Sova banking Trojan is capable of stealing users’ cookies, thereby gaining access to personal accounts in mobile banking apps, without necessarily knowing login and password information.”

Kaspersky recommended installing apps only from official stores like Google Play, Apple App Store and Amazon Appstore. Users should also check the permissions given to these apps, and update these apps when possible.

In the Philippines, the pandemic has driven the shift to digital payments and other fintech applications, but authorities have also seen a rise in several scams using online and mobile means to commit cybercrimes.