Anomalous decline in mobile malware noted in Africa

Experts from Kaspersky have reported a decline in attacks against mobile devices in African countries over the last year.

According to the company, bad actors are consolidating their efforts and shifting their focus to more complicated, dangerous and profitable threats.

This was one of the findings in Kaspersky’s Mobile Threats in 2021 report.

In SA last year, local users faced 38% less mobile malware attacks than the previous year, and other countries have seen even more dramatic changes of their mobile threat landscape. Mozambique saw a 48% decrease, followed by Botswana (58%), Nigeria (59%), Ethiopia (69%) and Ghana (76). The only countries where the share of attacks increased was Angola, where mobile malware grew by 12%.

Kaspersky sees this dynamic as mirroring the global trend, as attackers tend to invest less and less into the mainstream threats that are successfully neutralised by modern security solutions.

Instead, they are turning their attention to new mobile malware that has become increasingly complex, featuring new ways to steal users’ banking and gaming credentials, as well as other strands of personal data.

Moreover, experts also attribute the overall decline of mobile malware in 2021 to the enormous wave of attacks seen at the beginning of lockdown in 2020 as users were forced to work from home. That time also saw increased use of various video conferencing and entertainment apps, increasing the volume and spread of attack opportunities.

However, since the situation has stabilised, attackers are looking elsewhere.

Tatyana Shishkova, a security researcher at Kaspersky, says while there have been fewer mobile attacks in general, the attacks the company is seeing have become more complex and harder to detect.

“Cyber criminals tend to mask malicious apps under the guise of legitimate applications, which can often be downloaded from official app stores. On top of that, with mobile banking and payment apps becoming even more widespread, there is a higher chance of cyber criminals targeting these more actively,” she adds.

To remain safe from mobile threats, Kaspersky advises users to only download apps from official stores like Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon…