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SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, unveiled its annual Consumer Mobile Threat Report ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona. The report details key global trends in mobile threats and scams to be aware of, and how to protect against them.
The end of 2022 saw the release of some game-changing applications such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot and DALL-E 2 image generator. These tools have provided powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the masses, which creates exciting opportunities for innovation and productivity, but also provides those same opportunities to cybercriminals. McAfee’s 2023 Consumer Mobile Threat Report focuses on how cybercriminals 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 cybercriminals 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.”
Don’t trust apps just because they look legit
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 capitalize on recent AI trends.
The report details how cybercriminals are leveraging malicious apps by:
What can consumers do to protect themselves and their families? McAfee’s Mobile Research team recommends the following tactics:
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. Find the full report here.
The report demonstrates McAfee’s position as a leader in online protection and underpins the company’s pure play consumer business strategy to singularly focus on consumer solutions that deliver the future of online protection, today.
McAfee Corp. is a global leader in online protection for consumers. Focused on protecting people, not just devices, McAfee’s consumer solutions adapt to users’ needs in an always online world, empowering them to live securely through integrated, intuitive solutions that protect their families and communities with the right security at the right moment. For more information, please visit https://www.mcafee.com.
*Source: McAfee Modern Love survey conducted between Jan 27 and Feb 1, 2023 with more than 5,000 adults in nine countries. All other statistics in this release come from the 2023 McAfee Consumer Mobile Threat Report.