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Revealed: The top 10 app categories at risk of malicious malware 

The latest information released by Symantec proves threats in the mobile space are surging. In fact, data available in the Internet Security Threat Report details the number of new mobile malware variants rose from 17,000 in 2016, to 27,000 in 2017 – a 54 per cent increase. Malware is defined as software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorised access to a computer system.


Andrii Panchyk / 123rf

  • 27 per cent of apps in the ‘Lifestyle’ category have the highest category risk of malware
  • Apps in ‘Photography and Casual Games’ present the lowest level of risk
  • The number of new mobile malware variants increased by 54 per cent in 2017
  • In 2017, there was an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications blocked each day
  • Just 20 per cent of Android devices are running the newest major version of their operating system 

To highlight the risk bound in tech,– which shares a penchant for mobile software – sought to uncover the danger of malware in our everyday apps. After all, do we ever pause to think before we press ‘download’?

In 2017, it was found 27 per cent of apps found in the Lifestyle category are at risk of malware and becoming harmful to your device. Whether you want to shop, romance or cook, seemingly safe apps that help you through day-to-night may cause the most harm to your device and data. Likewise, Music and Audio (20 per cent) and Books and Reference apps (10 per cent) pose an elevated risk.

Entertainment apps, such as Netflix, are next in line, followed by Tools – both containing a six per cent likelihood of malicious malware.

Further down the table, and therefore deemed to be ‘safer, include apps in the categories of House and Home (five per cent), Education (four per cent) and Art and Design (four per cent). Photography (three per cent) and Casual Games (two) present the lowest level of malware risk.

Further analysis of Symantec’s report revealsthat, the goal for a clear majority of mobile malware is revenue generation. Traditional means of revenue generation have included premium rate SMS attacks or adware, where attackers collect attribution for ad impressions and app downloads, either by forcing the user to view web pages or download content.

Last year alone, there were an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications blocked each day.

Threats are on the increase, that we know – but the problem is exacerbated by the continued use of old operating systems. Just 20 per cent of Android devices are running the newest major version and only 2.3 per cent are on the latest minor release.

Consumers should know to only install apps from primary app stores, and not to click on untrusted links or approve device permissions and accesses without good reason. 

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