Android users are a high priority target for cyber criminals according to a joint report by Kaspersky Lab and INTERPOL. The report estimate that 98.05% of “all existing Malware” is targeted at android users, with 59.07 % designed to steal financial information of the users. Monthly attacks during the period of the survey went up nearly tenfold from 69,000 in August 2013 to 644,000 in March 2014.
“During the past few years, we have witnessed the rise of mobile cyber threats which have become more complex and intelligent enough to target specific entities. With the mobile market growing exponentially, it is clearer that these threats are mutating to include new attack vectors allowing the exploitation of personal smart devices,” said Madan Oberoi, Director of Cyber Innovation & Outreach at INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation.
In this age of mobile banking, it is not surprising criminals are increasingly targeting smartphone users. A survey by Kaspersky and B2B international revealed 77% of internet users rely on smartphones and tablets to access the World Wide Web, and a whopping 56% use smartphones for online banking. Android leads with 85% of devices currently available in the market, explaining why cybercriminals are attracted to the world most popular smartphone.
More worrisome is the increasing use of Trojan-banker malware to target financial information of users. Kaspersky estimated that over 500,000 android users encountered a malware designed to steal sensitive banking information, such card numbers and passwords.
“A successful Trojan-Banker infection can give a fraudster access to all of the victim’s money, while a Trojan-SMS needs to infect dozens or even hundreds of devices to show a worthwhile profit. In addition, not all owners currently use mobile online banking applications. That’s why there is such a difference in the number of Trojan-SMS and Trojan-Banker attacks registered by our products,” said Roman Unuchek, senior virus analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
Meanwhile, Kaspersky recorded an increase in Trojan SMS type malwares accounting for 57.08% of all detected attacks. Risk tool programs contributed 12.52% of total attacks- They are legitimate programs exploited for malicious purposes. Finally aggressive advertising programs (adware) accounted for 7.37% of detected attacks.
Malware modification grew 14 times over the period of the survey from 423 in August 2013 to 5,967 in July 2014. Fraudsters modify existing to malwares to produces more refined versions that are not easily detected by antivirus programs and other defense mechanism on the victim’s system.
Russian smartphone users were on the receiving end of over half (52%) of all detected attacks. 64.42% of the attacks in Russia were Trojan SMS based attacks. Experts attributed the growth in Russian attacks to a robust mobile payment service that allows users to pay for goods and services sing premium SMS. This makes Russia a good fishing grounds for cybercriminals who distribute Trojan malware to extort money.
However, it might be wrong to assume that android malwares is a Russian problem. Other countries sampled in the joint survey indicated a significant increase in the number of Trojan SMS attacks. Kazakhstan recorded 5.71% of the Trojan SMS attacks, Ukraine 3.32%, Spain 3.19%, the UK 3.02%, Vietnam 2.41%, Malaysia 2.3%, Germany 2%, India 1.55%, and France 1.32%.
Top/Featured image by: Michael Movchin / Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kaspersky_Lab_-_IFA_2012.jpg)