Banking Trojans emerge as dominant mobile malware threat

Banking Trojans emerge as dominant mobile malware threat

Summary: A new report finds that number of mobile malware modifications designed for phishing users' banking and bank card information jumped by a factor of 20 last year.


Kaspersky Lab's latest mobile threat landscape report portends more ominous news for mobile device users as the number of new malicious programs tailored for smartphones and tablets more than doubled to nearly 100,000 malicious modifications in 2013.

The vast majority of the most damaging mobile malware targeted users' money and bank cards, according to the security software firm's latest data, and more than 2,500 attempted infections by banking Trojans were blocked last year alone.

Russian mobile users were particularly hard hit, accounting for 40 percent of unique attacked users – well ahead of the India (8 percent), Vietnam (4 percent), Ukraine (4 percent) and the UK (3 percent).

But it's only a matter of time before cyberthieves move on to other fertile and more lucrative mobile hunting grounds.

"Today, the majority of banking Trojan attacks target users in Russia and the CIS," Victor Chebyshev, a virus analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said in the report. "However, that is unlikely to last for long: given the cybercriminals’ keen interest in user bank accounts, the activity of mobile banking Trojans is expected to grow in other countries in 2014."

While security software vendors are racing to provide consumers with more choice and control over their devices' security, the bad guys are finding little resistance – particularly when they target Android-based devices.

Kaspersky Lab says 98.1 percent of all mobile malware detected last year targeted Android devices – a total of 10 million malicious Android apps.

Security experts cited vulnerabilities in the Android OS architecture as well as the devices' popularity for the surge in Android banking Trojans last year. Kaspersky Lab reported only 64 known mobile banking Trojans at the end of 2012 but that number exploded to more than 1,321 unique samples by the close of 2013.


Topics: Security, Android, Mobility


Larry Barrett is a freelance journalist and blogger who has covered the information technology and business sectors for more than 15 years.

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  • again its the google products most open to this type of theft

    I know that google will try as hard as they can to keep that quite, just as they have done with linux. all those hidden phishing programs on those device because google tells everyone they don't need anti virus.

    statistics show that android and linux users are the most hacked in terms of their bank accounts.
    • If you don't care about Google, then why waste time commenting ?

      And all along I thought is was MS Products ... Wow enlighten me some more oh wise one ..
      And while you are at it, show us where you get your stats in linux being the most hacked OS
      on the planet ...
      • Don't you hate the cause people

        Yea, so you hate Google. Then commenting on this probably has no interest in a Google hater.
        As my comments states, not just Android can be affected by any security problems. Apple had to release a major patch to stop a total lapse of security with many of their own apps. Not third party, not some rogue app. But Apple's own.
    • 10 million malicious android apps?

      So Google ' s Play store has more than 10 million malicious apps? So according to a company that makes money off of selling antiviral programs says that more android apps than exist in Play store are malicious. Then goes on to say 1321 unique samples.

      Linux less secure than any Microsoft OS? You either work for Microsoft, NSA or need more education. Most of vulnerabilities in Linux are from 3rd party software such as Java, Flash and proprietary drivers. Linux kernel vulnerabilities get plugged very quickly.
  • Nice Title, Bad Article

    Please give me information that I can use. How is this malware getting on the Androids? Do you have to go to non-Google servers? What do I need to avoid this malware?
    • Details

      All to often articles about a malware threat do not give any details about how the infection vector and some indication of how to avoid infection. What people need to know is how does the malware work, how one gets infected, and what to do to avoid an infection.
      • Good Comment

        To find that one needs to look to other sites as the Z is turning out to be a lightweight in tech.
  • The Yahoo Mail App will probably be the mobile device entry point.

    One of the Trojans is called Zeus. If has recently mutated so that it uses a .jpg file to infect the machines. When the file is download/opened, the code is run and gets the infection going. On most machines and applications you must actively download and then view the picture.

    Yahoo has made the New Mobile APP ALWAYS automatically download and open EVERY bit of embedded media in the body of every email that is opened. Furthermore they have defaulted the App to ALWAYS open the next unread email. This means that whatever pictures are embedded in the email will download and open. AND THE USER CANNOT STOP IT!!

    Say,, You get an email from Aunt Tudy and decide you don't want to save it so you hit delete and if the next email is from a SPAMMER with embedded pictures you ARE going to look at them even if they are porn and if there is malicious code written for your OS hidden in the picture file, you are going to be infected. The malware senders don't even have to PHISH you to get you to open the garbage.

    Yahoo opens it for you even if you would have never opened it yourself..

    Here are portions of my last to exchanges with Yahoo about this. I first asked for the ability to block embedded medic nearly 6 months ago and these were recieved in the last week.
    My name is Vinod, and I will be happy to assist you in resolving your issue.

    On you Yahoo mobile app you can't scan the files, you would need to use Yahoo mail on webmail and download the attachment and scan it.


    Thank you for contacting Yahoo Small Business Support.

    My name is Tim and I will be happy to assist you today.

    I understand you would like the option of disabling automatic image downloading in the Yahoo Mail App. I apologize for any inconvenience this is causing you.

    As you have found, that setting is not available at this time. I will be submitting this issue as a feature request on your behalf. I would also suggest you leave your thoughts about the issue at:

    Until that option becomes available, you might consider abandoning the Yahoo App for the time being and configure your phone using the native mail application. That may give you the image downloading control you seek.

    So the first guy is telling me to use the webmail that can't be used on a touch screen device and the second one is telling me to set up for data hogging IMAP or for mail continuity destroying POP.
    • Yahoo mail app

      Oh No! I've installed and used the app several times. If this is correct, bye bye Yahoo Mail! Will check Gmail app too1 Spam makes it to Gmail's inbox. Is using a good VPn to browse safe while on public wifi?
    • I use Yahoo mail

      I don't even understand people using the yahoo mail app, it is so rubbish.
      I have been using yahoo mail thru Opera browser for over 3 years on Android and there is no chance of any jpg executing malware.
      How does a jpg file format even have the means to contain executable code?
      Unless your app or browser automatically opens any extension with jpg and then selects a non preview method based on internal file header. That would be really stupid app algorithm right?
  • With you lot spreading it I'm not surprised

    I just had to reload the tab 5 times to clear one of your bug-riddled adverts. Again.

    Waste of my time. Fuck off ZDNet, unsubscribed...
  • Not just Android

    When you have major security lapses like Apple has come out and finally admitted. After 18 months mind you. I think its unfair to target Android as the major problem. I myself can't imagine any need to access my bank accounts through a mobile device. For two reasons, one is apps in generally have not proven to be so secure, and two, why risk a potential risk of being connected to a public WiFi site and access this information?