Jhe Nokia 2021 Threat Intelligence Report revealed that banking malware threats are rising sharply as cybercriminals target the growing popularity of mobile banking on smartphones, with plots to steal personal banking credentials and credit card information.
The report, based on aggregated data from network traffic monitored on more than 200 million devices worldwide where Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed, showed an 80% year-on-year increase in another in the first half of the year from the number of new banking Trojans, which also attempt to steal SMS messages containing one-time passwords.
“A significant portion of this activity is concentrated in Europe and Latin America, but this activity is continually expanding to other regions of the world,” according to the report. “Banking Trojans use various tricks to collect information. These include capturing keystrokes, overlaying bank login screens with their own seamless overlay relaying captured information to the intended target, taking screenshots, and even accessing Google Authenticator codes. .
Banking malware primarily targets Android phones, which have been the most targeted type of mobile device for cybercriminals for years due to the ubiquity of Android and the openness of developers, with some banking Trojans making part of the most successful malware attacks in 2021.
The Threat Intelligence Report states that most banking apps allow users to add multi-factor authentication functionality to their accounts to make it harder for cybercriminals to obtain personal information. Users are strongly advised to avoid mobile banking from easily accessible public Wi-Fi hotspots; and to use both multi-factor authentication when available and strong passwords, which avoid common personal details like birthdays.
The report also revealed that COVID-19 malware incidents in residential networks stabilized 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 work-from-home environment.
IoT botnets, a network of malware-connected devices, continue to grow in size and sophistication, driven by the increasing use of IoT devices, such as “smart” refrigerators and CCTV cameras. One known as Mozi, which uses a peer-to-peer command and control protocol, has been used to create botnets made up of around 500,000 individual devices. Mozi is actively scanning the network and using a suite of known vulnerabilities to exploit other IoT devices. IoT botnets are responsible for 32% of malware incidents detected by Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security.
Kevin McNamee, Director of Threat Intelligence Center, Nokia, said: “Cybersecurity threats are only evolving and seeking new opportunities, as this year’s report shows. Banking Trojans have increased dramatically over the past year as digital banking becomes more widespread – and it’s a trend we see continuing in the future, reinforcing the need for better practices in line and implementing robust endpoint security.
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