UAE Cybersecurity cautions against the danger of fraudulent applications

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

The Cyber Security Council of the UAE Government has issued a stark warning about the growing threat of malicious applications that target user data and device security.

Emphasizing the critical need to bolster digital defenses, the council aims to ensure the safety of applications and digital infrastructure, fostering confidence and security in navigating the digital landscape.

Highlighting the alarming prevalence of fraudulent applications, the council cited a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which revealed a staggering 600 million malicious applications downloaded from the Google Play Store alone in the previous year. Moreover, the council cited incidents such as the mass fraud operation stemming from 20 million downloads of a deceptive application and the unauthorized activation of microphones on 50,000 devices due to a hacked application, both sourced from trusted app stores.

The council underscored the multifaceted risks posed by cyber threats, including data breaches, identity theft, financial exploitation, and privacy infringements. Phone hacking, in particular, presents three primary risks: identity theft, financial compromises, and privacy violations, each with serious implications for individuals' security and well-being.

While acknowledging official stores as relatively safer sources for applications, Kaspersky cautioned against downloading from alternative sources, which carry heightened risks. Users were advised to exercise vigilance even within official stores, carefully scrutinizing application details, developer information, and user reviews to discern authenticity. Cybercriminals often exploit popular applications by creating counterfeit versions with similar names and descriptions to deceive unsuspecting users.

In lieu of relying solely on overall ratings, users were urged to prioritize negative reviews and low ratings to uncover potential issues and pitfalls associated with applications. Additionally, the installation of robust security measures across all devices was recommended to preemptively detect and thwart Trojan viruses and other malicious intrusions.

The council highlighted the evolving tactics employed by malicious application developers to circumvent security measures, including the infiltration of official stores with deceptive applications laden with viral, advertising, and fraudulent components. This underscores the imperative for heightened awareness and proactive measures to safeguard against evolving cyber threats.

The Cyber Security Council's warning serves as a call to action for individuals and organizations to fortify their digital defenses, exercise caution in app downloads, and remain vigilant against emerging cyber threats to uphold the integrity and security of digital ecosystems.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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