The number of threats found in adult content accessed on a mobile phone has doubled in just a year, as hackers look to exploit those looking up explicit sites with malware attacks.
The research comes via Kaspersky, a prominent cybersecurity firm, who noted a two-fold increase in the number of users ‘attacked’ by pornographic content on their mobile phone increased from 19,699 in 2018 to 42,973 in 2019.
The firm says that “adult content, as with other types of digital entertainment, remains one of the most prominent ways malefactors try to infect devices. Due to users’ reasonable desire to keep their browsing experience private, porn remains of particular interest to cybercriminals.”
Kaspersky noted that the number of users attacked by malware hunting for credentials that grant access to porn websites dropped, while the number of malware attacks continued to explode. The number increased by 37% from 2018, totalling 1,169,153 in 2019.
Interestingly, the number of PC users that were impacted by malicious adult content fell from 135,780 in 2018 to 106,928 in 2019, suggesting that hackers are looking to exploit mobile users.
This is likely due to the fact that it’s significantly more difficult to examine links and pages for potential malware on a mobile device.
We’ve reported previously that hackers are increasingly turning to exploiting mobile devices. Phil Hochmuth, vice president of enterprise mobility at IDC said that “on a small screen and with a limited ability to vet links and attachments before clicking on them, consumers and business users are exposed to more phishing risks than ever before. In a mobile-first world, with remote work becoming the norm, proactive defense against these attacks is critical,” he said.
Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky said that “as users are becoming more mobile, so are cyber criminals.”
“We have seen that although PC malware distribution has been dropping, mobile malware is on the rise. While we have not witnessed many changes in the techniques used by cybercriminals, statistics show that this topic remains a steady source of threats and users need to be aware of that, taking steps to protect access to the vulnerable data they keep on their phone.”
“One cannot ignore how these attacks abuse user privacy as well, with data leaks and personal or private information being sold on the dark market for very small fees.”
“Cybercriminals are now able to cross-reference various leaked databases of users, and hence make more informed decisions about the attacks, making them targeted rather than random, and therefore more effective,” Galov continued. “Users need to take more serious steps to protect themselves than ever, through applying advanced security measures and educating themselves on handling their own data on the web and evaluating what risks their exposure entails.”
Kaspersky listed the ways in which users can stay safe online, which includes:
- Pay attention to the website’s authenticity. Do not visit websites until you are sure that they are legitimate and start with ‘https.’ Confirm that the website is genuine by double-checking the format of the URL or the spelling of the company name and by looking for reviews of sites that seem suspicious to you;
- Patch the software on your PC and mobile device as soon as security updates for the latest bugs are available;
- Do not download pirated software and other illegal content. Even if you were redirected to the webpage from a legitimate website;
- Block the installation of programs from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings and only install apps from official app stores;
- Use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats.