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Can Mobile Game Ads Infect Your Phone? A Guide to Safe Gaming

Can Mobile Game Ads Infect Your Phone? A Guide to Safe Gaming
May 09, 2024

Almost everyone has tried downloading and playing mobile game son their phone. Though sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish if these are actual games or a carrier for ads and malware. Can the ads displayed in these games infect your phone with malware? The short answer is yes, it's a possibility.

Here's a deep dive into the world of mobile game ads, malware risks, and how to stay safe:

The Ads Threat:

While most mobile game developers rely on legitimate advertising networks, some employ some more sinister tactics. Malicious ads can take various forms:

  • Deceptive Pop-Ups: These ads might appear to be "system notifications" or "update prompts," tricking you into clicking and potentially downloading malware disguised as an update or system file.
  • Fake "Close" Buttons: These frustrate you by placing fake "X" buttons that lead to malicious websites when clicked. Be cautious and look for the legitimate close button.
  • Auto-Redirects: These sneaky ads can automatically redirect you to a malicious website upon opening the game or clicking anywhere on the screen.

Malware Masquerades: What to Look Out For

Malware can lurk within mobile games in various forms:

  • Adware: This bombards you with intrusive ads, slowing down your phone and draining your battery.
  • Spyware: Steals your personal information, login credentials, and browsing history.
  • Trojans: Disguised as legitimate apps, they steal data or download other forms of malware onto your phone.
  • Premium Dialers: These incur hidden charges for seemingly free in-game services by subscribing you to premium SMS services.

The Most Widespread Mobile Game Malware:

Here are some of the most common types of malware found in mobile games:

  • Joker: Steals financial information and bombards users with spam.
  • Triada: Downloads other malware onto your device.
  • HummingBird: Targets Android devices, stealing login credentials and bypassing two-factor authentication.

Staying Safe While You Play:

Here are some essential tips to ensure safe mobile gaming:

  • Download from Official Stores: Only download games from trusted app stores like Google Play Store or Apple App Store. These platforms have stricter security measures.
  • Read Reviews and Ratings: Check user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the game's legitimacy and user experience. Look out for red flags like complaints about excessive ads or suspicious permissions.
  • Beware of Unnecessary Permissions: Pay attention to the permissions a game requests during installation. If a game asks for access to features unrelated to gameplay (like your microphone or contacts), it's a red flag.
  • Use a Mobile Security App: Invest in a reputable mobile security app that scans your phone for malware and offers real-time protection. Consider the Protectstar products.
  • Keep Your Software Updated: Ensure your phone's operating system and apps are updated with the latest security patches. Updates often include fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  • Don't Click on Suspicious Ads: No matter how tempting an offer seems, avoid clicking on suspicious ads within games.

Have you ever gotten malware installed on your phone? Let us know in our social media channels - @Protectstar on X and Linkedin and Protectstar-inc on Reddit! 

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