Push notifications plague is detected on 100,000 devices in a month in Africa


Kaspersky analysis of threats prevented in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Egypt in May 2020 has demonstrated that in just a month 100,414 users in these countries were subjected to the unwanted push notification appearance. All in all, such notifications were prevented from appearing 727,162 times during May.
Unwanted notifications cannot be classified as malware and are technically described as potentially unwanted objects. While originally they were meant as a tool for rapid information of users on breaking news, today they can be exploited to target shell websites visitors, filling their devices with unsolicited ads and sometimes links to potentially dangerous websites. To achieve that, users are hoaxed into subscribing to notifications, for example, by passing subscription consent off as some other action. The victim ends up subscribed to ad deliveries, while at the same time quite unable to get rid of the annoying messages, being unaware of their source or origin.
Egypt has become the most targeted country with 34,654 targeted users and 302,963 attacks, while in South Africa 26,509 users were subjected to unwanted push notifications activity with 181,275 cases. It is followed by Kenya with 24,388 affected browsers and 158,627 pop-ups and Nigeria with 7,654 and 40,185 devices and detected pushes accordingly. In addition, users with such issues were detected in Namibia, Rwanda and Ethiopia, with 8,393; 19,883; 15,836 devices respectively.