Kaspersky reports the anomalous growth of the mobile malware in Saudi Arabia in 2021 

While analyzing the threat landscape of Saudi Arabia, Kaspersky saw a steady increase in attacks on mobile devices in the region. The overall mobile malware attacks have increased by almost a fifth, which is opposite of the regional and global trend. These and other findings are featured in Kaspersky’s Mobile Threats in 2021 report.

While a 19% increase in the share of mobile malware attacks in 2021 might seem like an insignificant change on the threat landscape, Kaspersky experts note that this dynamic is very specific: the number of attacks on mobile users worldwide has been declining, hitting 46 million in 2021 compared to 63 million in 2020, similarly to other countries in Middle East: Egypt saw a staggering 52% decrease, followed by Qatar (47%), Kuwait (46%), UAE (29%), Oman (27%) and Bahrain (13%).

Nowadays cybercriminals tend to invest less and less into the mainstream threats that are successfully neutralized by modern security solution. Instead, they choose to invest more into new mobile malware that has become increasingly complex, featuring new ways to steal users’ banking and gaming credentials, as well as other strands of personal data. For instance, in 2021 Kaspersky detected more than 95,000 new mobile banking Trojans in the world, but the number of attacks using such malware remained similar. 

The experts also attribute the increase of mobile malware in 2021 to overall change of digital habits in the region. During the 2020 pandemic as users were forced to work from home there was an increase in use of various video conferencing and entertainment apps, increasing the volume and spread of attack opportunities. Now even though the situation has stabilized, users in Saudi Arabia has continued to rely heavily on their mobile device, facing increased risks that naturally accompany the increase in usage of mobile devices.

“Indeed, there have been fewer mobile attacks in the world, however, for Saudi Arabia the dynamic is different and we are still seeing that attacks have become more complex and harder to spot. Cybercriminals tend to mask malicious apps under the guise of legitimate applications, which can often be downloaded from official app stores. On top of that, with mobile banking and payment apps becoming even more widespread, there is a higher chance of cybercriminals targeting these more actively. Staying cautious and careful on the internet and avoiding downloading unknown apps is good practice, but I also strongly recommend using a reliable solution. When it comes to the security of finances in particular, it is better to be safe than sorry,” comments Tatyana Shishkova, security researcher at Kaspersky.

Read the full report looking into mobile threats in 2021 on Securelist.

To protect yourself from mobile threats, Kaspersky shares the following recommendations:

  • It is safer to download your apps only from official stores like Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Apps from these markets are not 100% failsafe, but at least they get checked by shop representatives and there is some filtration system — not every app can get onto these stores.
  • Check the permissions of apps that you use and think carefully before permitting an app, especially when it comes to high-risk permissions such as Accessibility Services. The only permission that a flashlight app needs is to the flashlight (which doesn’t even involve camera access).
  • A reliable security solution helps you detect malicious apps and adware before they start behaving badly on your devices. Conveniently, you can get protection, like Kaspersky consumer products, directly from mobile operators.
  • If you are a business, consider taking a holistic approach to the protection of your security perimeter, selecting the most appropriate one for your company.
  • iPhone users have some privacy controls provided by Apple, and users can block app access to photos, contacts and GPS features if they think these permissions are unnecessary.
  • A good piece of advice is to update your operating system and important apps as updates become available. Many safety issues can be solved by installing updated versions of software.

Kaspersky calls on the mobile industry to enhance cyber protection at all levels, including security for their users, by providing tailored cybersecurity services. Kaspersky Consumer Business Alliances enable companies to offer their customers complete cybersecurity portfolios by backing them with Kaspersky’s global support and expertise.

About Kaspersky

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 240,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at

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