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Financial Malware Grew 7% in H1 2019, Reaching 430,000 Users

Financial Malware Grew 7% in H1 2019, Reaching 430,000 Users

Woburn, MA – July 31, 2019 – Kaspersky researchers have discovered 430,000 users faced malware aimed at stealing finances, cryptocurrencies and web-money services in the first half of 2019, seven percent more than in the same period last year. Over a third (30.9%) of those affected were corporate users, double the same figure in the first half of 2018 (15.3%).

Financial malware, commonly identified as banking Trojans, is aimed at stealing finances and financial data as well as providing threat actors with access to user and financial organization’s assets and machines, making it one of the most lucrative threats for cybercriminals. Kaspersky’s data on new samples of financial threats demonstrates that this particular strand of malware is both extremely active and dangerous, especially for corporate environments. Most corporate networks rely on connected devices meaning that if a hacker is able to infiltrate one connected device, the whole organization’s security may be at risk. 

Typical attack vectors for malware include spam emails and phishing web pages. Phishing websites usually appear to be legitimate but are created by threat actors in an attempt to steal credentials, bank card details or other types of sensitive information. During the first six months of 2019, Kaspersky researchers detected more than 339,000 phishing attacks from web pages disguised as landing pages of large banks.

Researchers have ranked the top three most popular banking Trojan families that were used to attack corporate users. 40% of financial threats on corporate users came from the RTM banking Trojan, which substitutes account details while an infected victim attempts to make a payment or transfer funds, or manually steals money using remote access tools. 15% of financial threat came from the Emotet banking Trojan that self-distributes through vulnerabilities in unpatched devices to download extra threats onto the victim’s device. The third most common financial malware threat is the Trickster banking Trojan with 12% of discovered threats.

For private users, Zbot malware, which steals credentials with the option of remote control by threat actors, ranks first at 26% of discovered threats followed by RTM and Emotet. In 2018, RTM was almost entirely aimed at organizations, while figures from the first half of 2019 show that this malware is now reaching a significant share of domestic users.

“Given the numbers from the first half of this year, we expect to see a rise in the number of attacked users in the second half of 2019,” said Oleg Kupreev, security researcher at Kaspersky. “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.”

Read the full report on Securelist.com.

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