The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to turn to the internet for information about the elections. Moreover, a large part of the population voted digitally. This shift created countless new attack vectors for cybercriminals.
According to data presented by Atlas VPN, over 152 US election applications have infringement issues and 16 mobile apps have malicious code within them
In total, the research found 186 US election apps, out of which 152 were deemed fraudulent or malicious. Meaning, these apps claim to be authorized by the government or by the State, but in reality, they are not.
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, explains why cybercriminals might choose app stores outside of the US to publish malicious applications:
“Application stores are spread all around the world and are subject to different rules and regulations. For these reasons, it is easier for scammers to release an unofficial service in one country than in another.”
Not surprisingly, most election applications originate from within the US. The good news is that it is easier to submit a complaint and take down these malicious services if they are in the US. On the other hand, if the application is in a foreign state, it might prove difficult to take it down in a timely manner or at all.
For example, 17 applications are placed in stores that are registered in Hong Kong. Similarly, 14 infringing mobile election services are available in China’s app stores or websites.
Also, 10 applications are distributed from Panama — a country with loose digital privacy regulations.
Which consumers should watch out for these threats the most? Firstly, the investigation reveals that most infringing applications are aimed at Android users, comprising 95.6% of the total dangerous apps detected.