Posts tagged with "Ruth Cizynski"

Covid created by Allison Christensen from 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Tik Tok × Covid-19

With 732 million users worldwide, TikTok, a trending video-sharing platform, is one of today’s most popular social media networks. During the lockdown, the app’s short and amusing videos drew a lot of attention, but it was not long before cybercriminals took advantage of TikTok’s fame for their own gain.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, TikTok was the most impersonated app in Covid-19 related to Android app scams in the first half of 2021. There were a total of 88 TikTok copy-cat apps detected spreading FakeApp malware.

Malicious applications impersonating organizations that give out free laptops to students were also highly prevalent. There were 37 bogus Android laptop registration applications detected in H1 2021.

The third spot on the list is occupied by apps impersonating vaccine registration channels. Overall, 14 such malicious applications were found in the first half of this year. 360 Magazine is surprised to see this research about Tik Tok, which is widely used internationally.

Fake apps often imitate the login pages of the official apps to harvest users’ credentials and other personal data. They are typically distributed through third-party app stores, but on occasion, fake apps make it to the official Google Play store as well.

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, gives advice on how to recognize fake applications: “What makes fake apps so dangerous is that they are typically designed to look exactly like an official app, making them hard to spot. The best defense consumers have against falling prey to fake app downloads is knowing what to look out for. Reading the apps reviews, taking some time to research the developers, and reading the permissions agreement are just some of the things consumers should do before proceeding with an app.”

Apart from fake apps, cybercriminals have launched multiple other cyberattacks leveraging the global pandemic, including phishing campaigns, malicious URLs, as well as malware. While cyberattacks were widespread across the world, some countries suffered more than others. In total, 35.9% of such threats affected the United States in the first half of 2021. Other highly affected countries include Germany (18.9%), Colombia (10.5%), Italy (3%), and Spain (2.5%).

illustration bv Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Android Apps

When a developer leaves a mistake in application code, it can create a security vulnerability that criminals may exploit. 

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 63% of Android applications had known security vulnerabilities in Q1 2021, with an average of 39 vulnerabilities per app. 

Gaming apps had the most vulnerabilities out of all Android app categories. A whopping

96% of top free games apps were found to contain vulnerable components. Additionally, 94% of top-grossing games apps and 80% of top paid games apps also had vulnerabilities. 

Despite the fact that financial apps require some of the most personally sensitive data, vulnerabilities were also discovered in 88% of banking apps, 84% of budgeting apps, and 80% of payment apps. 

Education apps have the most high-level vulnerabilities 

Not all vulnerabilities are equal. While some may just be minor issues that do not pose any active threat to the user, other vulnerabilities can cause serious repercussions. Let’s delve deeper into the different types of Android security vulnerabilities registered since 2018. 

Education apps had the highest number of exploitable Android vulnerabilities with possible fixes as of the first quarter of 2021 43%. Meanwhile, apps in the top games category had the biggest number of exploitable Android vulnerabilities with no available fixes 6%. 

Overall, 44% of the Android app vulnerabilities were classified as high-risk, meaning they represented a tangible threat. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation: 

“Given that the Google Play store applications have been downloaded millions of times, it is safe to say they pose significant security risks to Android users. ”

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