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Revealed: The top 10 app categories at risk of malicious malware

by Anthony Weaver

• 27% of apps in the ‘Lifestyle’ category have the highest category risk of malware. • Apps in Photography and Casual Games present the lowest level of risk. • The number of new mobile malware variants increased by 54% in 2017. • In 2017, there was an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications blocked each day. • Just 20% of Android devices are running the newest major version of their operating system.

Latest information released by Symantec proves threats in the mobile space are surging. In fact, data available in the Internet Security Threat Report details the number of new mobile malware* variants rose from 17,214 in 2016, to 26,579 in 2017 – a 54% change.

To highlight the risk bound in tech, OnRecycle.co.uk – who share a penchant for mobile software – sought to uncover the danger of malware in our everyday apps. After all, do we ever pause to think before we press “download”?

In 2017, it was found 27% of apps found in the Lifestyle category are at risk of harmful, malware software. Whether you want to shop, romance or cook, seemingly safe apps that help you through day-to-night may cause the most harm to your device and data. Likewise, Music and Audio (20%) and Books and Reference apps (10%) pose an elevated risk.

Entertainment apps, such as Netflix, are next in line, followed by Tools – both containing a 6% likelihood of malicious malware.

Further down the table, and therefore deemed to be “safer”, include apps in the categories of House and Home (5%), Education (4%) and Art and Design (4%.)

Photography (3%) and Casual Games (2%) present the lowest level of malware risk.

Further to OnRecycle’s analysis of Symantec’s report, the goal for a clear majority of mobile malware is revenue generation. Traditional means of revenue generation have included premium rate SMS attacks, or adware, where attackers collect attribution for ad impressions and app downloads, either by forcing the user to view web pages or download content.

Last year alone, there were an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications blocked each day.

Threats are on the increase, that we know – but the problem is exacerbated by the continued use of old operating systems. Just 20% of Android devices are running the newest major version and only 2.3% are on the latest minor release.

Consumers should know to only install apps from primary app stores, and not to click on untrusted links or approve device permissions and accesses without good reason.

N.B. *Malware is defined as: software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorised access to a computer system.

Notes to editors: Please see the infographic for visual representation of the data. If you use this press release, and/or graphic, please credit https://www.onrecycle.co.uk/ with a clickable link.

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