Fraudsters cash in on Covid-19 with app malware - Mobile World Live

Fraudsters cash in on Covid-19 with app malware

03 JUN 2020

Entertainment apps proved a rich hunting ground for fraudsters during Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdowns, with the category accounting for more than half of malicious activity during Q1, data from carrier billing security company Upstream showed.

In its latest report, Upstream said six out of the ten most malicious apps came from leisure categories including gaming, social, news and video streaming.

“With the majority of the world having shifted indoors, there were some darker forces acting to make a profit from the lockdown situation”, noted Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Upstream’s Secure-D platform, which identifies and blocks fraudulent mobile transactions.

He highlighted a sharp rise in the number of entertainment apps publsished on the Google Play Store which tricked users into subscribing to premium services.

Cleaves noted malicious apps eat into data allowances, warning this could ultimately reduce data traffic. He tipped the effects of this to be greatest in developing markets, where prepaid services are most popular.

The company said the number of malicious apps in play doubled from 14,500 in Q1 2019 to 29,000 in the recent period, with the number of malware-infected devices up 7 per cent to 11.2 million.

It added 89 per cent of 326 million mobile transactions processed on its platform were fradulent, with nearly 290 million transactions blocked, up 55 per cent.

Upstream’s report covered 31 operators in 20 countries.

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Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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