Security News

5 tips to fight mobile adware

Avast Security News Team, 10 March 2020

Learn how to defend against the most common attack on Android devices.

According to statistics gathered by Avast Threat Labs between October and December 2019, adware accounts for 72% of the attacks on Android devices, a dramatic increase over last year’s 34%. Mobile adware hijacks certain functions in the device in order to spam the user with unwanted ads. Aside from being annoying and ceaseless, the ads themselves can range from harmless to malicious. The most common method by which adware infects a device is through a malicious app. Attackers typically disguise the adware as gaming or entertainment apps, leaning towards whatever is currently trending.

There are two main types of adware - the spammers and the clickers. The spammers flood the device with unwanted ads. The clickers, also known as Ad-Fraud and Ad-Clickers, stealthily run operations on the device, such as clicking on ads, without the user knowing. It’s a way the attacker can harvest a large amount of ad click revenue. 

“No one likes getting served with incessant ads,” commented Avast Head of Mobile Threat Intelligence & Security Nikolaos Chrysaidos. “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.”

Users can protect themselves from the rising threat of adware by following these five simple tips:

  1. Only download an app from official app stores like Google Play or directly from the app’s website to ensure you’re not getting a fake app or one that’s been hacked.
  2. Check the app’s ratings to get clues as to whether or not it’s a fake. If it has very few stars and many negative comments, that’s a red flag. 
  3. Before downloading an app, carefully review the permissions it requests. If it requests access to data that it does not necessarily need, it could be fraudulent.
  4. Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized payments or monthly subscription costs. 
  5. Use a mobile antivirus solution like Avast Mobile Security so that adware and other types of malware will be quickly identified and blocked. 

Avast is a global leader in cybersecurity, protecting hundreds of millions of users around the world. Protect all your devices with our award-winning free antivirus. Safeguard your privacy and encrypt your online connection with SecureLine VPN. Get advertisers off your back and disguise your online identity for greater privacy with Avast AntiTrack.