INTELLIGENT MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
Banking malware threats surging as mobile banking increases
T he Nokia 2021 Threat Intelligence Report has revealed that banking malware threats are sharply increasing as cyber criminals target the rising popularity of mobile banking on smartphones , with plots aimed at stealing personal banking credentials and credit card information .
The report , based on data aggregated from network traffic monitored on more than 200 million devices globally where Nokia ’ s NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed , showed an 80 %, year-on-year increase in the first half of the year in the number of new banking trojans , which also try to steal SMS messages containing one-time passwords .
“ A significant amount of this activity is focused in Europe and Latin America , but this activity is continuously spread to other regions of the world ,” according to the report . “ Banking trojans use a variety of tricks to collect the information . These include capturing keystrokes , overlaying bank login screens with their own transparent overlay relaying captured information to the intended target , taking screen snapshots , and even accessing Google Authenticator codes .”
Banking malware has been targeted mainly at Android phones , for years the most targeted mobile device type for cyber criminals due to Android ’ s ubiquity and developer openness , with some banking trojans among the most successful malware attacks in 2021 .
The Threat Intelligence Report stated that most banking applications allow users to add a multi-factor authentication feature to their accounts to make it more difficult for c ybercriminals to obtain personal information . Users are strongly recommended to avoid mobile banking from easily accessible public Wi-Fi access points ; and to use both multi-factor authentication when available and strong passwords , which avoid common personal details like birthdays .
The report also found that COVID-19 related malware incidents in residential networks have levelled off at 2.5 % after a peak in December 2020 of 3.2 %. This demonstrates that people are more aware of the threats posed by COVID-related cyberattacks and are taking steps to secure their home working environment .
IoT botnets , a network of devices connected with malware , continue to grow in size and sophistication , due to the rising use of IoT devices , like “ smart ” refrigerators and video surveillance cameras . One known as Mozi , which uses a peer-to-peer command and control protocol , has been used to create botnets consisting of around 500,000 individual devices . Mozi actively scans the network and uses a suite of known vulnerabilities to exploit additional IoT devices . IoT botnets are responsible for 32 % of the malware incidents detected by Nokia ’ s NetGuard Endpoint Security .
Kevin McNamee , Director , Threat Intelligence Centre , Nokia , said : “ Cybersecurity threats only evolve and look for new opportunities , as shown by this year ’ s report . Banking trojans have dramatically increased over the last year as digital banking becomes more prevalent – and this is a trend we see continuing into the future which reinforces the need for better online practices and having robust endpoint security in place .” •
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