Porn is the perfect lure for mobile malware

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Cybercriminals are using pornography to lure victims on mobile devices into installing malware, new research from Kaspersky Lab suggests. 

According to new findings from the cybersecurity company, more than a quarter (25.4 per cent) of all mobile users that were hit by malware were been lured into doing so through adult content.

Overall, this amounts to a total of 1.2 million people being affected by a total of 23 malware families, with clickers and WAP subscriptions being the most popular ones, tasking 45.80 per cent of the share.

Clickers are the type of malware that, once installed, click on ads to generate revenue for the cybercriminals. WAP subscriptions have the same goal, by trying to subscribe and drain the victims’ pre-paid mobile credit.

The malware is usually spread through fake video players offering adult content. Some malware works as ransomware. It shows a fake message of the device being seized by the FBI due to it hosting illegal content (usually child pornography), and demands a ‘penalty’.

This approach is very interesting to cybercriminals, because people looking for adult content aren’t so quick to report malicious activity, Kaspersky claims.

“Although we can’t say that porn-themed mobile applications are technically very different to those that do not use porn in their activities, there are a few specifics when it comes to attacks with porn-powered malicious applications," said Roman Unuchek, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

"A victim who has been compromised with an adult content-enabled malicious program might think twice before reporting the incident, simply because the very fact that they were trying to find porn content is viewed critically. Therefore, from the attacker’s perspective, such a person is a much more convenient victim. This is one of the reasons why we see so many attacks with porn malware. The other one is much simpler: people are consuming ever more content via mobile. This includes adult content as well."

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