The Philippines is the third country in Southeast Asia with the most Android mobile malware attacks in the first nine months of the year, data released by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky on Monday showed.
There were 134,556 Android malware attacks in the Philippines, accounting for 12% of total attacks in Southeast Asia, according Kaspersky.
Indonesia tops the list of countries attacked with 632,451, followed by Malaysia with 188,846.
Singapore got 26,836 attacks, Thailand with 57,056, and Vietnam with 53,097.
The list, however, excludes countries with fewer than 25,000 active users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions during the period.
“Kaspersky has been monitoring malware attempts against its users who use Android devices in SEA and found that malware attempts have been increasing. Banking and ransomware Trojans were the top malware detected in the region,” said Kaspersky.
“Trojans are one of the most dangerous species in the malware world. Banking Trojans steal money from mobile users’ bank accounts that are linked to their bank cards and apps. These malware are popular with hackers because they provide a direct route into other people’s accounts,” it added.
Kaspersky data also indicated that android mobile users in the Philippines are targets of the Hiddapp mobile malware, which secretly downloads ads on to the infected device, displaying as many ads as possible to the device user.
“We can see that attempts to infect Kaspersky mobile users year-on-year is quite going down in SEA and we attribute that to the growing awareness of the public about protecting their mobile data,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky general manager for Southeast Asia.
“The Philippines is hands-down an Android country and combined with the Filipinos’ very strong interest in digital activities, we understand why at number three overall in the region, Filipino Android users remain to be among cybercriminals’ targets,” he added.
Kaspersky suggested the following measures to spot and avoid Android malware:
- Download apps only from official stores
- Block the installation of software from third-party sources in the device settings
- Remember to install system and application updates
- Pay attention to permissions requested by apps during installation
- Be wary of a free antivirus trial as it could be malware in disguise that can attack your mobile device
“We must remember that all users must exert effort in protecting their smartphones especially as they use it increasingly for critical transactions such as online shopping and online banking,” said Tiong.
“With the BYOD (bring your own device) being a trend embraced in the country, we also encourage businesses to pay attention to how their employees protect their devices, especially those being used for corporate purpose,” he added. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA News