About one million mobile phone subscribers in Greece are estimated to have malicious apps or malware installed on their devices, Upstream CEO Guy Krief said, shortly after the Greek firm’s security experts uncovered a suspicious China-made Android weather app.
Unwanted software is estimated to have cost mobile providers more than 2.7 million euros in 2018. This is because the seemingly innocuous apps use up an abnormally large amount of data from smartphones, thus making consumers more cautious about spending money on large data packages.
Krief said than an estimated 15 million gigabytes of data were used up by malware in Greece last year.
Upstream made the headlines earlier this month after the company’s security platform identified a popular weather app that was siphoning off unusual amounts of information from its users. The free (often pre-installed) app, which had been downloaded more than 10 million times from Google’s Play store, was transmitting data including email addresses and mobile identity numbers to servers based in China. The app also committed click fraud as it operated in the background, clicking digital ads on webpages.
The app has since been removed from the site.
Krief says mobile providers are keen to deal with the problem as subscribers who see their data being used up are turning against the companies.