Malware threats and ransomware have been plaguing computer users and major networks around the globe over the past twelve years. Most interesting is the fact that, in the case of ransomware infections, a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin was requested. Kaspersky’s recent study shows that financial threats are still on the rise, whereas attacks against mobile banking are on the decline.
Financial Tools A Favourite Target For Trojans and Malware
Even though there has been little to no innovation in the financial sector over the past 50 years, the number of different tools and exploits used to breach services has exploded exponentially. After all, the main goal of exploiting a service’s weakness – either by hacking, installing a trojan or spreading malware – is a monetary gain in some way, shape or form.
As a result, online threats against the banking sector have been a constant cause for concern for security experts. The recent Kaspersky Labs study showed a total of 5,903,377 registered notifications about attempted financial malware infections during Q2 of 2015. Most of these malware infection attempts focus their attention on stealing money via online banking.
It should come as no surprise to find out that most of these attack attempts were made against users in Singapore, as that country’s economy is booming as of late. Traditional targets such as Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia are represented in the top 10 as well. But there are also some interesting countries to be found, such as Brazil, Lebanon and the UAE.
With more and more financial institutions shifting their attention to the mobile space, one would assume there are fewer attacks made against that platform. Nothing could be further from the truth, unfortunately, as the number of mobile threats has increased by 280% compared to Q1 of 2015. Additionally, the number of malicious installer packages has increased by 700% compared to the first three months of 2015.
What is most worrying is the fact that most of the malicious attacks against mobile users come in the form of legitimate tools. However, these legitimate tools are in fact malware trying to steal sensitive user data, as well as access finances. A total of 44.6% of all mobile malware threats during Q2 of 2015 came in the form of these “legitimate” apps.
But even if a user managed to avoid an app that looks legitimate, but is in fact spyware, they are far from safe. Six of the top 20 malicious mobile applications use advertisements to infect the host device with malware or a Trojan. Furthermore, these type of applications are incredibly difficult to delete, as they can hide themselves in the system directory of the mobile device itself.
Bitcoin Miner Malware Threat Still Present
Bitcoin-related malware and ransomware received a lot of mainstream media attention over the past year. In fact, things had gotten so much out of hand that malicious Bitcoin mining tools were the third largest type of financial malware in Q1 of 2015. Needless to say, that type of publicity is exactly what the Bitcoin ecosystem does not need.
And things haven’t gotten much better since, as malicious Bitcoin mining software accounted for the second-most type of financial malware in Q2 of 2015. In third place, Bitcoin wallet stealers are making quite an impact, representing 6% of all financial threats. Banking malware remains the biggest – and most profitable – tool for online hoodlums, however, with a whopping 83% of the “market share”.
Note from the Author: The overall percentages for Bitcoin-related threats have gone down, yet there are still plenty of reasons for concern.
The number of malicious Bitcoin mining tools is not going to drop any time soon by the looks of it, as various legitimate software developers integrate such tools into their products for monetary gain. Just a few months ago, TorrentFreak revealed how uTorrent, one of the most popular BitTorrent clients, came bundled with a Bitcoin miner tool.
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