In 2018, dfndr lab projected that 6.4 million Android smartphone users were victims of attacks from malicious URLs in the US. Overall, fraudulent advertisements was the chief strategy employed by cybercriminals in the past year, affecting 49.8% of total victims.
Online scams were also influenced by gender – American men were victims in 62.1% malicious URL attacks, compared to only 37.9% of women. 2 of the top 3 scams detected by dfndr lab were fraudulent advertisements. These types of scams commonly originate from adult sites, online gaming or pirated movie sites. The trend in gender attacks could be attributed to the internet habits of men and women. In Pornhub’s yearly review for 2018, 72% of American men visited the popular x-rated site versus 28% of American women.
The number one scam identified by dfndr lab in 2018 is a fraudulent advertisement promising to reveal leaked photos of Kim Kardashian, which actually led to users granting permissions to receive notifications and instead of seeing photos they were bombarded with spam ads. To illustrate the strong appeal of this type of content, Pronhub’s 2018 review revealed Kim Kardashian’s sex tape remains their most viewed video, at 185 million times. Online activities such as gaming, downloading torrents or surfing adult content are known to be riddled with malicious ads that push users to view videos, download unwanted apps or grant notifications permissions.
dfndr lab determined that 3.1 million Android users were victims of fraudulent advertisements in 2018. The best preventative measures to protect yourself against fraudulent advertisements or other schemes is to install an antivirus and antiphishing app and avoid websites where you might encounter suspicious notifications permissions or pop-up ads.