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Mobile Malware, High-Risk Apps Hit 1 Million Mark: Trend Micro

Researchers at Trend Micro say the amount of mobile malware and high-risk applications has now hit the 1 million mark.

High-risk apps are defined by Trend Micro as apps that aggressively serve ads that lead to dubious sites. Among the one million apps the vendor found, 75 percent perform malicious routines, while 25 percent exhibit suspicious routines, including adware.

"Malware families such as FAKEINST (34%) and OPFAKE (30%) were the top mobile malware," blogged Trend Micro's Gelo Abendan. "FAKEINST malware are typically disguised as legitimate apps. They are also premium service abusers, which sends unauthorized text messages to certain numbers and register users to costly services. One high-profile incident involving FAKEINST is the fake Bad Piggies versions, which we found right after the game’s release."

When it comes to high-risk apps, ARPUSH and LEADBOLT lead the way, garnering 33 percent and 27 percent of the total number, respectively. Both are known adware and infostealers, collecting device-related data such as OS information and GPS location, Trend Micro noted.

In its second quarter security report, Trend Micro reported that the amount of Google Android malware and high-risk apps had already reached 718,000, up from 509,000 in the first quarter of the year. Nearly half of the mobile malware (44 percent) uncovered during the second quarter was designed to subscribe unwitting users to costly services, while the next largest groups belonged to data stealers (24 percent) and adware (17 percent).

"The threat to mobile devices, however, is not limited rogue versions of popular apps and adware," Abendan blogged. "Threat actors are also pouncing on mobile users’ banking transactions, with the likes of FAKEBANK and FAKETOKEN malware threatening users."

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