QR codes a major source of smartphone viruses, report says

Updated 2017-08-08 14:08:42 Ecns.cn

(ECNS) -- QR codes have become a major source of smartphone viruses, with more than 100 million smartphone users infected with malicious software in the first six months of this year, according to a report released by Internet giant Tencent.

Tencent's anti-virus program for smartphones prevented 693 million attempted virus attacks in the first half of 2017, an increase of 124.24 percent year-on-year, and QR codes were a major source of those viruses, accounting for 20.8 percent, the report said.

The report found that the number of virus attacks on personal computers reached 1 billion in the first half of the year, a 30 percent increase compared with the previous six months from July to December 2016.

Statistics from Tencent's anti-virus laboratory from 2014 to 2017 showed that the number of malware programs continued to increase.

Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong province, topped the list of locations with the most virus attacks, followed by Chengdu in Sichuan province and Guangzhou in Guangdong, according to the report, which added that cities and regions with higher internet popularity might face higher risks of virus attacks.

The types of viruses in the first half of 2017 did not significantly differ from last year, the report said. Trojan horse viruses, which accounted for 53.8 percent of the total, remained the most prolific in the period, followed by Adware viruses, at 39.02 percent, and backdoor viruses, at 5.13 percent, the report said.

However, there were increasing outbreaks of cyber extortion viruses. About 3 million cases of extortion viruses were found in the first half of 2017, the report said.

WannaCry, an extortion virus outbreak on May 12, took advantage of existing bugs in the Windows system and spread around the world. In June, a new extortion virus called Petya became prolific.

Viruses also eyed smartphone users. Some 1.09 million smartphones users were infected by viruses in the first half of 2017. However, it showed a decrease of 45.67 percent compared with the same period in the previous year, the report said.

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