The number of malicious attacks on smartphone users in Qatar reached 11,883 so far in 2020, Internet security firm Kaspersky has said in a report.

In comparison, the figure was nearly 20,000 for Kuwait, and 15,000 for Oman.

“The overall dynamics were clearly showing that quarantine did not have a particular influence on the Qatar threat landscape,” Kaspersky said.

As mobile platforms' influence grows, the role of smartphones in business processes and day to day life is growing rapidly, the Internet security firm said.

In response, it said, “cybercriminals are paying more attention to how they are distributing malware and the attack vectors used, increasing their activity in times of crisis. In many scenarios, a properly chosen timing can be a key part of the success of a malicious campaign today, taking advantage of those users who are changing their security practices under pressure and do not have any reliable security solutions installed on their phones.”

“Throughout the year, the number of attacks was not changing dramatically, which means that the implementation of quarantine measures did not influence mobile threat landscape in the region. It would account for approximately 2,000 – 2,500 attacks monthly. This can be explained by the fact that mobile platforms were initially made to be independent from the physical location of the user and are adjustable to different lifestyles,” Kaspersky said.

Victor Chebyshev, security expert at Kaspersky said, “While 2,500 attacks on mobile users every month may seem to be a big number, it is great to see that Qatar smartphones’ and tablets’ owners remained vigilant during the crisis and did not fall for scammers tricks.

“Every system has a vulnerability, but human factor is often considered the greatest of them, so seeing that there is no increase in attack that reached users and were blocked by our products during a shift to work from home and global pandemic is reassuring.”

In order to protect customers' devices, Kaspersky security experts advise the following:

Only install mobile applications from official app stores, such as Google Play on Android devices or the App Store on iOS.

Block the installation of programs from unknown sources in smartphone’s settings.

Do not bypass device restrictions as this might provide cybercriminals with limitless capabilities to carry out their attacks.

Install system and application updates as soon as they are available — they patch vulnerabilities and keep devices protected.

Kaspersky security experts noted the mobile OS system updates should never be downloaded from external resources (unless a user is participating in official beta-testing). Application updates can only be installed through official app stores.

They have also advised the use of reliable security solutions for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats.

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