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Think Twice Before Downloading That App: Malware Lurks

According to one expert's recent report, the total number of mobile malware items detected in 2016 increased by three times over the 2015 numbers. Advertising Trojans were the most common mobile malware, representing 16 of the top 20 malware programs identified.

Security experts are finding that these Trojans not only flood the device with continuous advertising, but they can also infect root processes and allow secret installation of other applications, including apps from Google Play. Dave Sachin "Most malware attacks were carried out through advertisements: Kaspersky," economictimes.indiatimes.com (Mar. 3, 2017).


Many users are aware that a common method of malware distribution is through an infected file on a website or in an email. What some users may not know is that cybercriminals are increasingly using infected apps to spread their malicious files.

The sophisticated Trojan malware described in the above article has been found in reputable app stores like Google Play and Apple’s iTunes. For example, cyberthreat researchers detected an app in the official Google Play store that was disguised as a guide for Pokeman Go and contained this type of Trojan malware file. The app had been downloaded more than half a million times.

Even so, downloading apps from official app stores remains far less risky than trying to save a little money by going to a third-party site.

Users can also protect themselves by checking the user reviews before installing apps. Always avoid third-party sites for downloads, and do not grant any system permissions from prompts coming from unknown sources.

Employers can protect themselves by establishing detailed procedures regarding downloaded apps on devices used in the workplace. Consider conducting mandatory device checks on a regular basis. This will allow your IT professionals to scan for viruses and verify that security software is current.

In addition, continual employee training that includes a review of usage policies and an update of new threats will help reduce the risk of malware infection.

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