Mobile Malware


Mobile malware refers to malicious software specifically designed to target and exploit mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. By infiltrating these devices, cybercriminals can steal users’ personal information, gain unauthorized access, and potentially cause system disruptions. The malware often spreads through infected apps, malicious links, or phishing scams, thereby posing a significant threat to users’ data and privacy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Mobile malware is a type of malicious software specifically designed to target and infiltrate mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, with the intent of gathering sensitive information, causing disruptions, or gaining unauthorized access.
  2. Common types of mobile malware include Trojans, spyware, ransomware, adware, and fake security software. These can result in identity theft, unauthorized charges, data loss, and reduced device performance.
  3. Protecting your mobile device from malware can be achieved by regularly updating your operating system and apps, using reputable security software, avoiding untrusted app stores, and being cautious when clicking links and downloading files.


The technology term “Mobile Malware” is important because it refers to malicious software specifically designed to target, infiltrate, and compromise mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

As our reliance on mobile devices for everyday tasks, such as banking, shopping, communication, and social media, continues to grow, they become an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals.

Being aware of mobile malware enables users to take appropriate measures to protect their sensitive information, privacy, and the integrity of their devices, ultimately ensuring a safer and more secure mobile experience.

Acknowledging the importance of mobile malware also drives the development of more robust security solutions, leading to continuous improvements in safeguarding our digital lives.


Mobile malware is a malicious software specifically designed to target mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The primary purpose of this type of malware is to exploit vulnerabilities in the mobile operating systems and their applications to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, take control over device functionalities or inject malicious code.

Cybercriminals use various tactics, from disguising malware as seemingly legitimate applications to exploiting known security flaws in operating systems, in order to infect a device and achieve their nefarious objectives. Once a mobile device is infected with malware, it can be used for multiple purposes, depending on the cybercriminal’s intent.

Some common uses of mobile malware include data-mining to steal personal and financial information, launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, sending premium-rate SMS messages without the user’s consent, encrypting content on the device for a ransomware attack or using it as a bot within a larger botnet attack. As mobile devices continue to become more ingrained in our daily lives, the threat of mobile malware increases, prompting a need for stronger security measures and increased awareness among users to protect their personal data and ensure the safe use of these devices.

Examples of Mobile Malware

Android Backdoor GhostCtrl: Discovered in 2017, GhostCtrl is a mobile malware that targets Android devices. It poses as a legitimate application (like WhatsApp or Pokemon Go) and tricks users into installing it. Once installed, the malware gains root access and takes control of basic functions, enabling it to access users’ contacts, camera, microphone, and messages. The malware employs various tactics like allowing hackers to record video and audio, steal private data, and even lock the device.

Judy Malware: Judy is an Android-based mobile malware discovered in 2017, which had infected over

5 million devices. The malware came disguised as a variety of seemingly harmless gaming apps. Once installed, the infected apps generated fraudulent clicks on advertisements displayed within the app to generate revenue for the attackers. Judy was found to be distributed through Google Play Store, highlighting the vulnerability of even official app sources to such malicious actors.

iKee Worm: The iKee Worm, discovered in 2009, is an example of mobile malware that targeted iPhones. It exploited a vulnerability in jailbroken iPhones where users had not changed the default password for Secure Shell protocol. The worm changed the wallpaper on the infected iPhone to an image of the 80s pop singer Rick Astley with the message “ikee is never going to give you up.” More importantly, it exposed the device to further security risks, as it enabled remote control for hackers to execute commands and steal sensitive information.

Mobile Malware FAQ

1. What is Mobile Malware?

Mobile malware is a type of malicious software specifically designed to target mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, causing harm or exploiting the sensitive data and information stored on these devices.

2. How does Mobile Malware spread?

Mobile malware spreads through multiple channels, including third-party app stores, malicious websites, phishing emails, text messages, and social networking platforms. It can also be distributed via compromised apps that seem legitimate but contain hidden malicious code.

3. What are the common types of Mobile Malware?

Some common types of mobile malware include adware, spyware, ransomware, banking Trojans, and mobile-specific malware like Android and iOS viruses.

4. How can I protect my device from Mobile Malware?

To protect your device from mobile malware, download apps only from trusted sources, keep your device’s operating system and apps up-to-date, install a reliable mobile security app, avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments, and be cautious when granting permissions to apps.

5. What should I do if my device is infected by Mobile Malware?

If you suspect your device has been infected by mobile malware, disconnect it from the internet, uninstall any suspicious apps, and install a trusted mobile security app to run a full scan. Additionally, consider contacting the device manufacturer or a professional for further assistance.

Related Technology Terms

  • Phishing Attacks
  • Mobile Ransomware
  • Mobile Spyware
  • Mobile Adware
  • Mobile Botnet

Sources for More Information


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