We are witnessing a plague of mobile adware, one of the most common forms of cyber-threats designed to collect personal information from a user’s device.

Roughly 4 billion people are connected to the internet via their smartphone, yet organizations rarely prioritize mobile security. One Cyber Security Report shows that in 2019, 27% of companies suffered a cyber-attack because the security of a mobile device was breached.

“It only takes one compromised mobile device for cybercriminals to steal confidential information and access an organizations corporate network,” explains Yael Macias, Product Marketing Manager from Check Point. 

The enemy is the adware’s point of origin

The main problem with adware is pinpointing how a phone became infected. Adware is developed to sneak onto a device undetected without uninstallation procedures. Removing this type of virus can be extremely difficult and the information that it collects, such as a device’s operating system, location, images, etc., can present a high security risk.

Adware is commonly distributed through mobile apps. According to Statista, there are 2.5 million apps available to Android and Google Play users and there are 1.8 million apps available on the Apple Store. These figures demonstrate the wide scope of this kind of attack, giving a clear indication as to why cyber-criminals focus on mobile devices.

Tips to protect yourself from mobile adware

In this case, prevention is the best solution. Here are a handful of proactive measures that you can take to avoid adware:

  • Only download apps from official Google Play or App stores. Pay attention to the number of downloads and the reviews by the users.
  • Check whether the functions the app asks you to access are necessary. For example, if a flashlight app asks for access to your contacts, it is a red flag.
  • Avoid allowing the app to function in the background (unless it seems completely necessary)
  • Update your device and the application to the latest version, with all necessary security patches available.
  • Utilize security tools to help you protect your device as cyber-criminals can attack both Android and iOS users.

For more on mobile adware, check out this blog post.