2020 is, for now, a negative year also with regard to Android security, at least according to the research carried out with Upstream’s Secure-D platform: in the analysis, referring to the first quarter of 2020, in fact, twice the number of the malicious app compared to the same period of 2019.
Q1 2020 starts badly: malware is on the rise
The security platform has identified more than 29,000 malicious applications ( malware ) against 14,500 last year, always referring to Q1. The first quarter also saw a considerable increase (+ 55%) in fraudulent mobile transactions and a growth in mobile devices infected with malware.
The data are actually alarming, especially considering that 9 of the 10 most harmful apps of this first quarter of 2020 are (or have been) available within the Google Play Store, having evidently passed the security checks adopted by Big G. During 2019 the percentage of the top malicious apps available on Google’s virtual store stood “only” at 30%.
The most popular is Snaptube, a video download app downloaded more than 40 million times globally. Already in 2019, Upstream’s Secure-D platform detected 70 million fraudulent transactions through this same app (especially in Brazil), and 2020 seems to be on track. Of course, this is no longer available on the Google Play Store, but can still be downloaded from some third-party stores.
Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Secure-D at Upstream, commented on the data as follows:
“ With much of the world forced indoors, there have been some darker forces that have acted to profit from the lockdown situation. At Secure-D we have seen a strong increase in attackers who have published “leisure” apps on the Google Play Store, using tricks to trick users into subscribing to premium services. ”
Why is Android the most affected? There is a tendency to take advantage of the robot system as it is easier to work with, and because it has some unofficial stores where you can download and install applications. In the first quarter of 2020, the Upstream security platform processed over 326 million mobile transactions and blocked almost 290 million, identifying 89% of them as fraudulent.
The areas most affected by these fraudulent activities appear to be Indonesia, Brazil, and Thailand, but this does not mean that elsewhere it is not possible to run into the malware and the problems in question. Once again we invite you to pay attention to what you install on your Android smartphones and tablets: the first step is to rely exclusively on official stores, such as the Google Play Store, even if we have already ascertained that it is not always sufficient.
If you are interested in furthering the topic, the complete Mobile Ad Fraud 2019 report is available for download on the secure-d.io website.