Since reaching record highs in 2020, the number of mobile malware installers has been gradually decreasing, according to new figures from Kaspersky.
The company’s “2022 Mobile Malware Threat Landscape” report (opens in new tab) claims that while 5.6 million detected mobile malware installations were detected in 2020, this number will drop to 1.6 million by 2022, a drop of about 70%.
In previous years, adware was the most widespread type of malware. However, in 2022, this was replaced by potentially unwanted software of the RiskTool type, which now accounts for 27.39% of all mobile malware installations. Adware is now second with 24.05%.
The Chinese are under attack
Consumers in China were the most popular targets, the report notes, saying that of all victims attacked with mobile malware last year, 17.70% were Chinese, followed by Syrians (15.61%), Iranians (14. 53%) and Yemeni (14.39%). The only European country to make the top ten was Switzerland, which finished eighth (5.44%).
While the overall number of detections seems to be in freefall, there is a subset of mobile malware that has been on the rise recently: mobile banking Trojans. Kaspersky detected a total of 196,476 installations in 2022, a 100% year-on-year increase and the highest figure in the past six years.
The largest variant was Bray (66.4%), whose operators mainly targeted the Japanese. Fakecalls and Bian rounded out the top three with 8.27% and 3.25% respectively.
While the numbers have risen in the short term, Kaspersky said compared to the 2020 highs, the number of malware installers detected has actually fallen.
“Cybercrime activity leveled off in 2022, with the number of attacks remaining stable after a decline in 2021,” the report concluded.
That said, cybercriminals are still working to improve both malware functionality and distribution vectors. Malware is increasingly spreading through legitimate channels, such as official marketplaces and advertisements in popular apps. This applies to both scam apps and dangerous mobile malware banking.”