WASHINGTON, USA: Hackers are increasingly targeting mobile phones to access bank accounts of victims and steal their money, security researchers warn.
Targeted malware attacks, mainly against Android phones have increased tenfold with 588,000 users worldwide being hacked by criminals after their money. Image: Modify Lifestyle
A report by Kaspersky Labs and Interpol found that 60% of the malicious programs targeting Android devices between August last year and July this year were designed to steal money or banking credentials.
The report focused on Android, which accounts for roughly 85% of the mobile device market and 98% of mobile malware.
Just like other online operations, hackers are moving into mobile because more and more users access the internet from these devices.
The survey of users registered with Kaspersky found more than 588,000 Android users worldwide faced financial malware attacks, six times higher than in the previous 12-month cycle.
"It is easy to understand why cyber-criminals create so many malicious programs targeting Android devices: these days, smartphones are increasingly used to pay for online purchases of merchandise and services," the report said.
Huge growth in malicious software
"Apps can be installed through Google Play as well as the Amazon App store. Third party apps pose a security threat to users who enable the installation of apps from unverified sources. These unverified packages may carry malware that could be installed on a device without the user's permission or knowledge," Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky found the largest number of victims were Android users in Russia. Other countries affected included Ukraine, Spain, Britain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Germany, India and France.
Users surveyed reported about 3.4m malware detections and Kaspersky noted that the number of monthly attacks increased tenfold between August last year and March this year
The report said the biggest growth is coming from "Trojan-Banker" and "Trojan-SMS" malware that allow hackers access to bank accounts.
"A successful Trojan-Banker infection can give a fraudster access to all of the victim's money, while a Trojan-SMS can infect dozens or even hundreds of devices," said Kaspersky analyst Roman Unuchek.
The report comes amid growing interest in mobile payments, allowing consumers to use their phones to pay at participating stores.
Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge