New research from Avast, the global leader in digital security products, reveals an uptick in attacks targeting Android smartphones and tablets in Q2/2017 of nearly 40 percent as compared to the same period last year. To address today’s threats, Avast has updated its Avast Mobile Security & AntiVirus and AVG AntiVirus mobile apps, now combining the best of each brand’s mobile threat detection technology in one strong engine. The Avast app now allows users to protect photos and personal data with extra security layers, and to enhance their phone’s battery life. The updated AVG app provides enhanced protection for smartphone owners from theft, privacy intrusion through apps that over-collect data, and from unwanted calls. AVG users can now also keep their phones running at peak performance with a new cleaning feature.
“Mobile cybersecurity attacks are growing rapidly as hackers’ strategies become more agile and dangerous, and what’s at stake is mostly the user’s personal data and privacy,” said Gagan Singh, SVP & GM of Mobile and IoT at Avast: “We constantly update our mobile security solutions to address new threats by leveraging powerful AI and machine learning technologies in combination with the world’s largest threat detection network to make it easy for consumers to stay secure online. Since users carry their most valuable data around with their smartphones, we also focus on strong features protecting their privacy, securing their device and data, while providing convenience.”
Key Findings from Avast
Avast’s research reveals an increase in mobile cyberattacks of 40 percent, from an average of 1.2 million to 1.7 million attacks per month. Researchers tracked an average of 788 variations of viruses per month, up 22.2 percent from Q2/2016. The findings also show that the top three mobile threats are designed to spy and steal personal information (referred to as “Rooters”), and to spam users with ads, even outside of the app (referred to as “Downloaders/Droppers” and “Fake Apps”).
The top three mobile threats of Q2 are:
1. Rooters (22.80 percent) — Rooters request root access to a smartphone or use exploits to obtain root access, thereby gaining control of the device to spy on the user and steal information.
2. Downloaders (22.76 percent) — Downloaders or droppers use social engineering tactics to trick victims into installing more malicious apps. Droppers also typically show full-screen ads, even outside of the app itself. These ads are not just annoying, but are often linked to suspicious sites.
3. Fake apps (6.97 percent) — Illegitimate apps posing as real ones in order to drive downloads and expose users to advertisements.
New Features in Avast and AVG Mobile Apps
The latest version of the AVG AntiVirus mobile app comes with a reimagined user experience featuring a modernized design. New features include:
- Anti-theft Features: Users can control the app online, activate a siren if the phone has been stolen, remotely adjust settings and set custom screen messages.
- Call Blocker: Gives users the options to block unknown callers or send them directly to voicemail. In the new version, this feature has been optimized for users to not only block numbers stored in the address book, but also all unknown and hidden numbers.
- App Permissions: Allows users to understand which apps installed on their phone have which permissions and what information they can access.
- Wi-Fi Speed Test: Checks the download and upload speed of the Wi-Fi network users are connected to.
- Safe Clean: Cleans residual data and caches to improve smartphone speed and performance.
New features to Avast Mobile Security & AntiVirus, include:
- Photo Vault: Encrypts photos from a user’s gallery and imports them into a PIN code-protected vault, accessible only to the user.
- App-locking: Adds fingerprint and pattern locking/unlocking support to the existing feature, which allows users to create a PIN to secure their smartphone apps.
- Power Save: Reduces battery consumption by turning off unused apps and activities, including adjusting settings for battery-draining activities such as Bluetooth and screen settings.
Avast Mobile Security was certified by independent testing organization AV-Test with the best detection score (AVG uses the same mobile threat detection engine), and the best usability score (both 6 out of 6).