Avast has found that adware now accounts for the vast majority of Android mobile malware. Statistics gathered by Avast’s Threat Lab experts show that adware was responsible for 72% of all mobile malware, and the remaining 28% consisted of banking trojans, fake apps, lockers, and downloaders.
Mobile adware is software that hijacks a device in order to spam the user with unwanted ads. Avast’s insights indicate that adware is a rising problem, with its share among all Android malware types having increased by 38% in the past year alone.
Adware often disguises itself in the form of gaming and entertainment apps, or other app types that are trending and therefore are interesting targets with a high potential to spread far. These apps may appear harmless, but once they’ve infected a device they will surreptitiously click on ads in the background. Sometimes, adware also serves ads with malicious content.
There are two main types of adware: adware apps, which cause distraction and annoyance; and ad-fraud/ad-clickers, a more malicious type of adware:
Commenting on the findings, Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Head of Mobile Threat Intelligence & Security at Avast said: “No one likes getting served with incessant ads; they’re often unwanted and can ruin our enjoyment of an app. They could also pose a threat to users as cybercriminals can use them as a backdoor to a device – whether it’s to make money from advertisers or steal your personal information. We’ve been tracking this issue for a number of years and the increased use of mobile devices is likely fuelling its growth.”