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Cybercriminals target Nigerians, South Africans with 7,700 attacks ahead of Valentine’s Day

Adeyemi Adepetun

Feb. 14, 2020

Some 7,700 attacks are found to have been unleashed on Nigerians, South Africans and Kenyans by cybercriminals.
The attacks, targeted at lovers celebrating this year’s Valentine Day’s celebration, come through apps downloading.
Russian cybersecurity outfit, Kaspersky, which discovered these breaches, disclosed that its analysis showed that within 2019, the region saw a circulation of 1,486 threats under the guise of over 20 popular dating applications in Africa, with 7,734 attacks on 2,548 users detected.
The countries attacked most often were South Africa, accounting for 58 per cent of all attacks in the region, Kenya (10 per cent) and Nigeria (four per cent)
According to Kaspersky, popular dating apps used worldwide, such as Tinder, Bumble or Zoosk, often become a bait used to spread mobile malware or retrieve personal data to later bombard the users with unwanted ads or even spend their money on expensive paid subscriptions. It stressed that such files have nothing to do with legitimate apps, as they only use a name and sometimes copy a design of authentic dating services.
Notably, the report noted that cybercriminals would most often choose Tinder to cover their files. It pointed out that this app’s name was used in nearly a third of all cases (493 files detected in African regions).
Kaspersky said the danger these malicious files bring varies from file to file, ranging from Trojans that can download other malware to ones that send an expensive SMS, to adware, making it likely that every ping a user gets is some sort of annoying ad notification rather than a message from a potential date.
For instance, it noted that one of the applications that at first glance looks like Tinder is, in fact, a banking Trojan that constantly requests Accessibility service rights, and upon getting them, grants itself all rights necessary to steal money from the user. Another names itself as ‘Settings’ right after installation, shows a fake ‘error’ message and later disappears, with a high likelihood it will return with unwanted ads a few days later.
It pointed out that cybercriminals, who specialise in phishing also do not miss the chance to feed on those seeking to find love. Fake copies of popular dating applications and websites, such as Match.com and Tinder, flood the internet. Users are required to leave their personal data or connect to the applications via their social media account. The result is not surprising: the data will later be used or sold by cybercriminals, while the user will be left with nothing.
Kaspersky’s Head of Advanced Threat Research and Software Classification, Vladimir Kuskov, “Love is one of those topics that interest people universally, and, of course, that means that cybercriminals are also there. Online dating has made our lives easier and yet uncovered new risks on the path to love.
“We advise users to stay attentive and use legal versions of applications that are available in official application stores. And, of course, we wish you best of luck finding the perfect date for this special day”, comments, head of advanced threat research and software classification at.”
To avoid cyber risks ahead of Valentine’s Day, Kaspersky recommends people to always checking application permissions to see what installed apps are allowed to do; not installing applications from untrusted sources, even if they are actively advertised, and block the installation of programs from unknown sources in your smartphone’s settings.
Furthermore, Kaspersky urged people to find out more information about the dating, look into its reputation on the Internet and try to find user feedback
Kuskov said there should be the usage of a reliable security solution like Kaspersky Security Cloud that delivers advanced protection on Mac, as well as on PC and mobile devices.
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