Ads as Vehicles for Malicious Attacks on Mobiles

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Mobile technology has seen a surge in usage over the last 5 years as users check email, watch media, and communicate using their mobile devices, but what are the risks as we shift all or some of our communications to mobile platforms?

Read on as IT experts discuss risks associated with the proliferation of mobile platform usage for businesses and the individual, and offer advice on how to stay safe online.

Mobile Platforms – Things to Watch

With the utility of using a mobile device to communicate and do business ‘on the go’—and even in the bath—comes increased risk of being hacked, incurring data losses and data corruption. Since it is easier for you to access data on the go, it is also easier for malware to control your device surreptitiously in novel, undetectable ways. Additionally, with the ease that comes with transporting ‘big data’ and putting it in your pocket, there is an associated risk of losing data that can’t be replaced or the loss of which compromises user security.

SEE ALSO: What’s the Difference: Viruses vs. Malware

Ads as Entry Points for Malicious Attacks

Ads and malware introduced through ads on mobile devices are, according to a recent study of mobile device security risks, the biggest entry point for malicious attacks. It has been suggested that the risks are so big that ads on mobile devices as entry points for malicious attacks have, for the first time, become the primary for attackers disguising an attack.

Ads Responsible for More Attacks, But There Are Bigger Risks to Users

The study concluded that in 1 out of every 5 times a mobile user comes into contact with malware it is through an ad downloaded on their mobile device. On the other hand, though, attacks facilitated through download of illegal footage are still the most effective, according to the study.

Adverts comprise 12% of requested content on mobile devices, and these are responsible for a whopping 20% of malicious attacks. As you can see, it is a high percentage of adverts that actually hold malicious software. The malware that attacks your computer may not be as sophisticated and damaging as malware from other sources, however, it can still be crippling. Just to allay your fears a little; attacks facilitated by ad downloads tend to be more superficial and the attacks more easily diverted through using standard security software.

The Future of Ads as Vehicles for Attacks?

However, the trends surrounding malware entry to mobile platforms is something that changes very quickly and very significantly, so it may be that attacks using ads will become more sophisticated over time. The study concluded that the threat of malware entry as a result of ad download had increased by a multiple of 3 since analysis of malware entering through ads were last studied in a large study in 2012.

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