Malware: what is it?

The word itself is short for “malicious software”. It is defined as any software created with the intention of causing damage to a device without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

While malware has been around for decades, mobile malware is a relatively new concern. Asking security experts if mobile malware was a risk back in 2014 would have resulted in mixed responses. In 2017, the answer is a resounding yes. Mobile malware is a potent and growing threat to enterprise.

Infecting your fleet

Cybercriminals use a variety of tactics to infect the maximum number of corporate devices possible with their malware variants.

Infected applications

  • One of the most popular infection methods among hackers
  • Hackers infect known applications or create their own
  • Are usually downloaded from third party app stores


  • Online advertisements are infected with malware
  • Distributed by ad networks appear silently on legitimate sites
  • High risk on mobile as even one touch can trigger download


  • Rely on user being redirected to malicious webpage
  • Result of malicious email, text message or pop-up screen
  • One of the most common tools used to distribute malware

Direct to device

  • James-bond-esque malware infection method
  • Requires direct access to device to download or sideload malware
  • Usually takes place in the case of an extremely targeted attack

The types

Cybercriminals use a variety of tactics to infect the maximum number of corporate devices possible with their malware variants.


Adware, short for advertising software, is designed to show frequent ads to a user in the form of pop-ups, sometimes leading to the unintended redirection of users to web pages or applications.


Banker malware is defined as any type of malware attempting to steal users’ bank credentials without their knowledge.


Ransomware is a type of malware that demands money from users and, in exchange, promises to release either the files or the functionality of the devices being ‘held hostage’.


Rooting malware as a category includes any malware that ‘roots’ the device, essentially unlocking the operating system and obtaining escalated privileges.


SMS malware is a type of malware that manipulates devices to send and intercept text messages resulting in SMS charges. The user is usually not aware of the activity.


Spyware monitors and records information about users’ actions on their devices without their knowledge or permission.


A trojan is a type of malware that hides itself within a piece of seemingly innocent software

The malware table of variants

Whether it’s spyware, ransomware or a new malicious banker, get a sense of the latest malware threats affecting corporate mobile devices.


Get MI:RIAM working for your mobile fleet today