How cyber criminals unleash attacks on Africans through dating apps
London, Feb. 13, 2020 (AltAfrica)-African continent experienced over 7, 700 cyber attacks in year 2019 and all were carried out under the disguise of dating apps
A latest report by Kaspersky, a global cyber security company shows that in 2019 alone, African region saw a circulation of 1,486 threats under the guise of over 20 popular dating apps with 7,734 attacks on 2,548 users.
Around 10% of all these threatening files (765) were detected in Kenya, with 380 attacks
The reports noted that popular dating applications such as Tinder, Bumble or Zoosk, often become bait used to spread mobile malware or retrieve personal data
Notably, cybercriminals would most often choose Tinder to cover their files: this app’s name was used in nearly the third of all cases (493 files detected in African regions).
The danger these malicious files bring varies from file to file, ranging from Trojans that can download other malware to ones that send an expensive SMS, to adware, making it likely that every ping a user gets is some sort of annoying ad notification rather than a message from a potential date.
For instance, one of the applications that at first glance looks like Tinder is in fact a banking Trojan that constantly requests Accessibility service rights, and upon getting them, grants itself all rights necessary to steal money from the user.
Another names itself as ‘Settings’ right after installation, shows a fake ‘error’ message and later disappears, with a high likelihood it will return with unwanted ads a few days later.
Cybercriminals who specialise in phishing also do not miss the chance to feed on those seeking love. Fake copies of popular dating applications and websites, such as Match.com and Tinder, flood the internet. Users are required to leave their personal data or connect to the applications via their social media account. The result is not surprising: the data will later be used or sold by cybercriminals, while the user will be left with nothing.
“Love is one of those topics that interests people universally, and, of course, that means that cybercriminals are also there. Online dating has made our lives easier and yet uncovered new risks on the path to love.
“We advise users to stay attentive and use legal versions of applications that are available in official application stores. And, of course, we wish you best of luck finding the perfect date for this special day”, says Vladimir Kuskov, head of advanced threat research and software classification of Kaspersky.
To avoid cyber risks ahead of valentine’s day, Kaspersky recommends users to always check application permissions to see what the installed apps are allowed to do . “Users should also not install applications from untrusted sources, even if they are actively advertised, and block the installation of programs from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings”