Ransomware grows 24 per cent in Q1 2016

McAfee's Threats Report also revealed 21 consumer mobile apps could be a gateway for malicious activity

Mobile malware

McAfee's Threats Report has discovered 5,000 versions of 21 mobile applications that are being used to operate mobile collusion attacks on victims. The method entails using two or more apps to launch a more sophisticated attack.

Video streaming, health monitoring, and travel planning were the most popular apps discovered for launching such synchronised attacks and the method for hacks is intensified because customers are not updating the software on their devices, so security holes are not being closed. The company explained three different ways mobile collusion could be used by hackers.

Information theft involves using an app that has access to sensitive data collaborating with one that can send information to others, while financial theft sends information to an app that can make financial transactions or has access to a financial API.

Service misuse is the final type of attack. It utilises an app that can control a system service and take commands from another app to change how the phone operates, for example.

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"Improved detection drives greater efforts at deception," said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security's McAfeeLabs group.

"It should not come as a surprise that adversaries have responded to mobile security efforts with new threats that attempt to hide in plain sight. Our goal is to make it increasingly harder for malicious apps to gain a foothold on our personal devices, developing smarter tools and techniques to detect colluding mobile apps."

Other insights from McAfee's report revealed ransomware has grown 24 per cent quarter-over-quarter, while mobile malware has increased by 17 per cent.

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