Spam and Untrusted URLs Are Driving Most Threats on Android, Bitdefender Research Finds

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When it comes to attack vectors on the Android platform, spam and untrusted URLs dominate. Attackers overwhelmingly prefer them because they’re easy to deploy and generate, not to mention cheap.

One of the newest features for Bitdefender Mobile Security is Scam Alert, which allows the security solution to intercept threats well before they become a problem. Besides blocking malicious links in SMS messages, it can also detect bad links in notifications from all apps (other messaging apps, email clients and more).

Scam Alert offers a clear window into the Android threat landscape and shows us how it’s actually shaped, what the dangers are and where they’re coming from. While it’s true that spam can sometimes be simply an annoyance, it can also hide more dangerous threats within.

A slice of danger

The data Scam Alert provides just a slice of what is happening in the online world, albeit a considerable slice. Not all links are visible in notifications, but this is where the security solution comes into play and blocks the connection at the browser level.

The definition of spam grows daily, but we have a good idea of what it is: unwelcomed messages, sometimes carrying links to products or fraudulent campaigns. The definition of untrusted URLs is a bit murkier. When a link comes from a compromised domain or has any indication that it might not be on the up and up (no HTTPS link for example), it’s simply categorized as untrusted. It’s better to consider them untrusted by default as a security policy.

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After spam and untrusted URLs, the third category, with almost 10 percent, consists of malware. This means that, out of all the millions of intercepted malicious SMS messages and notifications, 10 percent carried malware or linked directly to malware. That’s a considerable number, especially considering that the Android platform covers around 70% of the global market.

Scam Alert is a free feature in Bitdefender Mobile Security that detects link-based attacks delivered through messaging apps and notifications and prevents propagation through sharing.

For more data on threats Android, Windows, iOS and macOS users face every day, you can also check our comprehensive 2021 Consumer Threat Landscape Report.