Out of the more than 206,000 mobile malware attacks blocked by Kaspersky solutions for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region in just six months measured between January to June 2021, over 30,000 of these attacks combined originated from Nigeria (14,071), Kenya (10,697), and South Africa (5,499).

For African countries monitored, Nigeria only trails Egypt (19,466) by the number of attacks blocked, pointing to how prevalent mobile threats have become in the highly connected country.

In fact, Kaspersky’s latest research showed that when looking at the top 10 countries by share of users attacked by mobile malware Nigeria places eighth (at 11.76 percent). Even though Kenya and South Africa might not feature prominently, the mobile malware threat is still a concern, along with the shift to more targeted based attacks these countries are seeing.

The top three most prevalent malware behaviours that Kaspersky has seen in Kenya and Nigeria are Trojans, Trojan-Downloaders; and Trojan-Droppers. In South Africa, these are Trojans, Trojan-Proxy; and Trojan-Downloaders.

A Trojan is a type of malware that is often disguised as legitimate software which attackers can use to try and gain access to user systems. As the name suggests, Trojan-Downloaders download and install new versions of malicious programmes, including Trojans and Adware on victim computers.

Meanwhile, Trojan-Droppers usually save a range of files containing malicious programmes to the victim’s drive. Once installed, a Trojan-Proxy allows an attacker to use the infected device as a proxy to connect to the Internet.

Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa, Bethwel Opil, said: “mobile malware remains a significant threat for corporate and personal users across Africa. These attacks are usually very diverse with hackers leveraging a range of methodologies and technologies to compromise victims’ devices.

Trojan-Downloaders and Trojan-Droppers are especially dangerous given their potential to contain significantly damaging payloads.” In addition to installing cybersecurity solutions on their mobile devices, like Kaspersky Total Security, the firm offered a few additional ways users can enhance their security. Cybersecurity wants users to create a strong password. By putting a strong password on their smartphone, the device can become unusable if it is lost or stolen and the password attempt fails a certain number of times.

Kaspersky cautioned that users should not trust SMS.

It explained that mobile malware uses text messages, so users should never respond to requests for credit card details or other private information. It stressed that users should check their browser for the lock symbol. The lock icon in the address bar indicates that the sight is secure when entering personal data.

“Install apps from reputable sources. Popular shopping sites such as Amazon or eBay have their own mobile applications. You must check to see they are the official apps from the company before you initiate a download. This can be done by checking the developer information and user ratings on the download page,” it stated.

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