Mobile malware in Asia surged in Q3, with Indonesia accounting for more than half of all global transactions blocked, data from mobile technology company Upstream showed.

The company said 97 per cent of all mobile transactions processed on its Secure-D security platform in Asia were flagged and blocked as fraudulent during the quarter: nine of the top-ten worst offending apps were available on Google Play.

It noted malicious players were using the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic to take advantage of mobile users.

Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Secure-D at Upstream, explained it found a “sharp increase in malicious activity” from apps which “blindside users, purchasing subscriptions and premium content without their consent”.

The company stated 98 per cent of 164 million transactions processed in Indonesia were found to be fraudulent during Q3, five-times higher than the comparable period of 2019. The nation accounted for 64 per cent of all transactions Secure-D blocked worldwide in the recent quarter.

A total of 310,000 Indonesian users had malware infected devices, equating to a fifth of all infected users Secure-D detected globally and a third of those across Asia. The number of suspicious mobile apps in the country doubled compared with Q3 2019.

The number of suspicious transactions stopped due to fraud in Thailand doubled year-on-year with a 30 per cent rise in Malaysia and a 16 per cent increase in the UAE.