Significant increase in attacks on mobile devices in 2023

Significant increase in attacks on mobile devices in 2023


28 February 2024

In 2023, Kaspersky observed a steady increase in the number of attacks on mobile devices, which reached almost 33.8 million, an increase of 50% compared to the previous year's figures. The most prevalent threat to mobile devices was adware, accounting for 40.8% of all threats detected.

As leaders of the global mobile device industry gather in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, Kaspersky's annual analysis of the threat landscape highlights the growing prevalence of mobile security risks alongside advances in malicious mobile tools and technologies. According to the company's experts, there is a notable upward trend in attacks targeting mobile devices. In 2023 alone, the number of such attacks rose to 33,790,599, a significant increase of almost 52%, compared to the 22,255,956 attacks recorded in 2022. In Greece in particular, 22,056 attacks were recorded.

The most widespread threat to mobile devices was adware, a type of software that displays unwanted (and sometimes annoying) pop-up ads. As for banking Trojans, the number of installation packages for such malware dropped to 153,682 after a sharp increase last year, when the number doubled. At the same time, the number of attacks using mobile bankers remained at relatively the same level.

Cybercriminals often distribute threats to mobile devices through both official and unofficial app stores. In 2023, Kaspersky experts observed many malicious apps infiltrating Google Play. One of the most common disguises for 2023 was fake investment apps that relied on social engineering tactics to extract personal data from users, mainly phone numbers and full names, which were later added to databases used for phone fraud. Another widespread attack vector observed was malicious WhatsApp and Telegram mods designed to steal user data.

To protect yourself from mobile threats, Kaspersky advises:

  • It's safest to download your apps only from official stores such as the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Apps from these stores are not 100% safe, but at least they are checked by representatives and there is some filtering system in place - not every app can reach these stores.
  • Check the permissions of the apps you use and think carefully before licensing an app, especially when it comes to high-risk licenses like Accessibility Services. The only permission a flashlight app needs is in the lens (which doesn't even include access to the camera).
  • A reliable security solution helps you detect malicious apps and adware before they start misbehaving on your devices. For your convenience, you can get protection directly from mobile providers.
  • A good tip is to update your operating system and important applications as each update becomes available. Many security issues can be resolved by installing software updates.
View them all