Cheetah Report claims 1 million Indian devices infected in 2015

According to Cheetah Mobile’s 2015 Security Report, India ranks second in the list of countries severely affected by malware with 1 million infected devices.

The report reveals findings from its latest global mobile security report conveying that about 1 million devices were affected by malware in India in 2015. The report highlights the growth of viruses, phishing sites, malwares, infected devices across major markets (including India), data leakages, and concludes with security predictions for 2016.

The Company’s annual security report is the accumulated data based on 567 million global monthly active users and an overall install base of almost two billion users, using Cheetah Mobile’s utility applications on their devices.

The report stated that the number of Android viruses exceeded 9.5million, which is larger than twice the total number in the past three years. In comparison with  2.8million in 2014, the growth rate of 2015 is over 22%. Also, thousands of companies and hundreds of millions of users have been affected by information leaks in 2015.

With the exceeding usage of mobile payment, the number of malwares targeting mobile banking has increased rapidly. More than 60 percent of viruses have been related to mobile payment. These viruses have been misleading customers to enter their banking credentials including bank account and ID information in guise of normal payment pages.

Also, Root Trojans, which are very hard to remove, have gained system-level privilege and are capable to take complete control of the device.

Android vulnerabilities have been emerging continuously, from Stage fright vulnerability which affected 95% Android devices, to the Wormhole present in millions of devices. Malicious promotion malware has been affecting more than 50 percent of Android users, and are disguised as pop ads and force installation of unwanted apps, which are very hard to uninstall. Privacy theft Trojan which hide in the devices to get access to text messages, contact information and even personal photos, is also becoming a common issue for Android users.

China, India and Indonesia were top three affected countries, says the report.

China had 1.5 million infected devices while Indonesia has about 8,00,327 devices followed by Russia with 4,63,385 afflicted devices.

Large Android user bases, prevailing third-party app markets which are weakly monitored etc are major causes of these countries being hit to such an extent.

Cheetah Mobile detected over 13,00,000 malicious websites in 2015. The number of malicious sites increased with each passing month, peaking at December. With the year-end months bearing a festive atmosphere, online fraudsters seized it as a chance to commit cyber crime, said the report.

Addition of more security features in Android 5.0+ and 6.0 will decrease the rate of malware affliction, predicted the report. As per the report, with Security Enhanced Linux and full device encryption, these Android versions will be more secure than the previous iterations of Android.

“Currently Android 5.0+ have covered over 30 percent of Android users, and the kernels of flagship models of major Android vendors have been upgraded to Android 5.0+ or Android 6.0. With more and more Android devices being upgraded to Android 5.0+ or 6.0, we can expect a more secure Android ecosystem,” the report conveys.

Google is set to replace third-party app stores, with the Play store becoming available in China in the near future and will also restrict the permissions available to apps through the Google Play submission. Google is also believed to bring a more transparent, standardized and healthy application distribution channel in the near future, added the report.

The report issues warning to the users to increase alertness while using mobile payments as cyber criminals are most likely to target them to steal their key banking data.