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430,000 people hit with financial malware

By Catherine Knowles
Mon 5 Aug 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Financial malware, that is malware that targets finances, cryptocurrencies and web-money services, has increased by 7% from the same period last year, according to new research from Kaspersky.

New research finds that 430,000 users faced this issue in the first half of 2019. Of this, more than a third (30.9%) were corporate users, which is double the figure discovered in the first half of 2018 (15.3%).

Financial malware, commonly known as banking Trojans, is aimed at stealing finances and financial data, as well as providing threat actors with access to users and financial organisations assets and machines, Kaspersky says.

According to the company, these threats have always occupied a significant part of a threat landscape, as finance is the most common motivation for cybercriminals and fraudsters.

Kaspersky data on new samples of these threats highlights that malware aimed at stealing funds is active and dangerous, especially when it comes to corporate environments.

This is due to the fact that most corporate networks usually rely on connected devices, and if one is compromised then the whole entity may be under threat.

According to the research, typical attack vectors for malware are spam emails and phishing web pages. Web pages generally appear to be legitimate websites, but are created by threat actors in an attempt to steal credentials, bank card details or other types of sensitive information, Kaspersky says.

According to the report, during the first half of 2019, more than 339,000 phishing attacks from web pages disguised as landing pages of large banks have been detected.

The research also identified the most popular banking Trojan families that were used to attack corporate users.

Four-in-ten (40%) financial threats on corporate users came from the RTM banking Trojan – one of the most dangerous types of banking malware for businesses in 2018 Kaspersky says.

RTM is followed by the Emotet banking Trojan at 15%. This threat can be particularly damaging as once it gets inside the entity’s network perimeter, it can self-distribute through vulnerabilities in unpatched devices and then download extra threats onto the victim’s device, Kaspersky says.

Trickster banking Trojan is the top three identified malware, with 12% of discovered threats.

For private users the situation was found to be different. The list of malware that attempted to attack them is topped by Zbot malware (26%), which steals credentials with the option of remote control by threat actors, followed by RTM and Emotet.

In 2018 RTM was almost entirely aimed at organisations, while figures from the first half of 2019 show that this malware is now reaching a significant share of ordinary, domestic users, according to Kaspersky.

Kaspersky security researcher Oleg Kupreev says, “We expect to see a rise in the number of attacked users in the second half of 2019. Usually, we see a rise in malicious activity after the holiday season, when people are using their devices less than usual and therefore are less likely to fall a victim to threat actors.”

“We urge everyone to be extra careful with all banking and finance-related operations that they perform online and remain vigilant,” says Kupreev.

To protect your business from financial malware, Kaspersky security specialists advise introducing cybersecurity awareness training for employees, installing the latest updates and patches for all software, forbidding the installation of programs from unknown sources, implement EDR solutions for endpoint level detection and remediation, and finally integrating Threat Intelligence into your SIEM and security controls in order to access the most relevant and up-to-date threat data.

On education, Kaspersky says it is important to train particularly those who are responsible for accounting and teach them how to distinguish phishing attacks. For instance, do not open attachments or click on links from unknown or suspicious addresses.

Kaspersky recommends private users always install security updates as soon as possible, do not install software from unknown sources, and use a reliable security solution.

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