AI Is Creating New Mobile Scamming Threats   

McAfee's  latest Consumer Mobile Threat Report  details key global trends in mobile threats and scams to be aware of, and how to protect against them. In particular McAfee are worried about the potentially game-changing Artificial Intelligence (AI)  applications like as OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot and DALL-E 2 image generator. 

These provide powerful AI tools to the mass market, creating exciting opportunities for innovation and productivity, but also provide the same major opportunities to cyber criminals. 

McAfee's latest report focuses on how cyber criminals are leveraging these tools to trick or defraud consumers in growing numbers as identified by McAfee’s Mobile Research team. A common theme throughout is the prevalence of malicious phone applications. “Our mobile devices are an essential part of our daily lives now more than ever. They allow us to access a wealth of information and entertainment and provide the freedom to be productive from almost anywhere,” says Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer, McAfee.  “Unfortunately, they also provide cyber criminals with greater access to potential victims. By sharing insights from McAfee’s Threat Research Team, we are empowering our customers to freely and safely enjoy their digital lives.” 

Malicious apps tend to fall into a few categories, things that are popular, easy to use, and seemingly harmless. Many malicious apps deliver some legitimate functionality, but just because a free app works, doesn’t mean that it’s not hiding ulterior motives. Criminals often use encryption to hide their malicious code from reviewers, or they build in a delay, so the bad stuff doesn’t show up until the app is published in the app store.

OpenAI’s new AI image generator, DALL-E 2, ushered in a wave of AI-based mobile applications that could create artistic images based on photos. While some of these apps are legitimate, others may be malicious apps looking to capitalise on recent AI trends.  The report details how cyber criminals are leveraging malicious apps by:

Sliding into your DMs:    6.2% of threats that McAfee identified on Google during 2022 were in the "Communication" category, mainly malware masqueraded as SMS apps. But even legitimate communication apps can create an opportunity for scammers. They will use fraudulent messages to trick consumers into clicking on a malicious link, trying to get them to share login credentials, account numbers, or personal information. 

While these messages sometimes contain spelling or grammar errors or use odd phrasing, the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT can help scammers clean up their spelling and grammar mistakes, making it tougher to spot scam messages by mistakes in the content. 

The severity of these Communication threats is also evident in the volume of adults (66%) who have been messaged by a stranger on social media, with 55% asked to transfer money. 

Taking advantage of Bring Your Own Device policies:    23% of threats that McAfee identified were in the "Tools" app category. Work-related apps for mobile devices are great productivity boosters, categories like PDF editors, VPNs, messaging managers, document scanners, battery boosters, and memory cleaners. These types of apps are targeted for malware because people expect the app to require permissions on their phone.

Asking for permissions to storage, messaging, calendars, contacts, location, and even system settings is not unusual and enables the scammers to retrieve all sorts of work-related information. 

Targeting teens and tween gamers with phones:    9% of threats that McAfee identified were Games from app categories such as Casual, Arcade and Action. Malicious apps often target things that children and teens like, such as gaming, making videos, and managing social media. The most common types of threats detected within the gaming category in 2022 were aggressive adware - apps that display excessive advertisements while using the app and even when you're not using it.

 It’s important to make sure that kids’ phones are either restricted from downloading new apps, or that they’re informed and capable of questioning suspicious apps and identifying fraudulent ones.

McAfee’s Mobile Research team recommends the following tactics: 

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, texts, or direct messages and think twice before you click on any links.
  • Remember that most of these scams work because the scammer creates a false sense of urgency or preys on a heightened emotional state. Pause before you rush to interact with any message that is threatening or urgent, especially if it is from an unknown or unlikely sender.
  • Ensure that your mobile device is protected with security solutions that includes features to monitor and block potentially malicious links.

The report also reveals the top mobile malware groups (also referred to as families or types) McAfee identified in 2022, and predictions for the year ahead and repeats the  golden rule - If it’s too good to be true, it probably is

You Might Also Read: 

Cyber Security Issues For The Mobile Industry:

___________________________________________________________________________________________

If you like this website and use the comprehensive 6,500-plus service supplier Directory, you can get unrestricted access, including the exclusive in-depth Directors Report series, by signing up for a Premium Subscription.

  • Individual £5 per month or £50 per year. Sign Up
  • Multi-User, Corporate & Library Accounts Available on Request

 


Cyber Security Intelligence: Captured Organised & Accessible


 

« Hackers Have Already Cost Medibank $26m
US Federal Agency Hacked  »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

North Infosec Testing (North IT)

North Infosec Testing (North IT)

North IT (North Infosec Testing) are an award-winning provider of web, software, and application penetration testing.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

Roka Security

Roka Security

Roka Security is a boutique security firm specializing in full-scale network protection, defending against advanced attacks, and rapid response to security incidents.

Waterfall Security Solutions

Waterfall Security Solutions

Waterfall Security is focused on protecting critical infrastructure and industrial control systems from remote online cyber attacks,

Cypress Semiconductor

Cypress Semiconductor

Cypress is a semiconductor design and manufacturing company providing embedded devices for secure IoT applications.

RedShield Security

RedShield Security

RedShield is the world's first web application shielding-with-a-service company.

Infosistem

Infosistem

Infosistem is a Croatian ICT company with extensive expertise and experience in enterprise and SMB ICT projects and solutions.

Egyptian Supreme Cybersecurity Council (ESCC)

Egyptian Supreme Cybersecurity Council (ESCC)

ESCC is responsible for developing a national strategy to face and respond to the cyber threats and attacks and to oversee its implementation and update.

IUCC Cyber Unit - Israel

IUCC Cyber Unit - Israel

IUCC Cyber Unit safeguards Israel’s National Research & Education Network (NREN).

Eclypsium

Eclypsium

Eclypsium protects organizations from the foundation of their computing infrastructure upward, controlling the risk and stopping threats inside firmware of laptops, servers, and networks.

Axur

Axur

Discover and eliminate digital fraud and risks on the web. Utilize Axur’s entire AI potential, along with thousands of bots dispersed throughout the surface web as well as the deep and dark web.

Thistle Technologies

Thistle Technologies

Thistle Technologies is building tools that help connected device manufacturers build security resiliency into devices.

Superus Careers - Cyber Career Exchange

Superus Careers - Cyber Career Exchange

The Cyber Career Exchange is a specialized recruiting platform focused specifically on cybersecurity.

Port443

Port443

Port443 specialises in providing Security Orchestration, Automation and Remediation (SOAR) "as a service".

Firesand

Firesand

Based in Milton Keynes, Firesand Ltd provides penetration testing services to improve your cyber security and protect your company against hackers.

RealDefense

RealDefense

RealDefense develops and markets various privacy, security and optimization technologies and services for consumers and small businesses.

Airlock Digital

Airlock Digital

Airlock Digital was created after many years of experience in implementing whitelisting/ allowlisting solutions in Federal Government and various enterprises in Australia.

Relatech

Relatech

Relatech is a Digital Enabler Solution Knowledge (D.E.S.K.) Company that offers digital services and solutions dedicated to the digital transformation of businesses.