Porn as bait: Over 1.2 million people hit by malware, lured by adult content

MANILA, Philippines – Pornography, or perhaps the promise of accessing pornography, appeared to have been a major player when it came to luring the unsuspecting into picking up malware on their devices.

Kaspersky Lab, in a report released last Wednesday January 31, said 25.4% of mobile users who encountered malware, or over 1.2 million people, were attacked by malicious programs using adult content as the bait for them to install malware.  

Kaspersky added it identified 23 families of mobile malware using pornographic content to mask its actual functions.

The malware types include rooting malware, banking trojans, and clickers – malware designed to click on advertising links or set a user up to drain their mobile credits via Wireless Application Protocols. 

In the case of this push to trick people with porn, Kaspersky explained, "adult content serves as a tool for cybercriminals to lure victims into fraudulent schemes involving phishing, PC and Android malware."

Roman Unuchek, a security expert with Kaspersky Lab, added there was a social component to the use of porn as a lure.

"A victim who has been compromised with an adult content-enabled malicious program might think twice before reporting the incident, simply because the very fact that they were trying to find porn content is viewed critically. So from the attacker’s perspective, such a person is a much more convenient victim," Unuchek explained.

"This is one of the reasons why we see so many attacks with porn malware. The other one is much simpler: people are consuming even more content via mobile. This includes adult content as well.” –

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.