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Financial malware attacks rise 27.6% in 2013

The cyber attacks using financial malware reached 28.4 million.

By CBR Staff Writer

The number of attacks targeting online accounts with malware has risen to 28.4 million during 2013, with increasing user preference for e-commerce and online transactions, a new report has revealed.

During the year, cyber attacks involving financial malware increased 27.6% compared to 2012, according to a study called ‘Financial cyber threats in 2013’ conducted by Kaspersky Lab.

According to the security researchers, the programmes designed to steal financial information comprised of banking Trojans, keyloggers and two new classes of malware, out of which one targets to rob users Bitcoin wallets and another downloads software to generate the crypto-currency.

The report revealed that the increase in malware attacks were attracted to steal Bitcoins, while attackers used a number of vulnerabilities in Java platform to carry out attack.

Kaspersky Lab senior security researcher, Sergey Lozhkin, said last year saw a significant increase in the proportion of financial cyber threats, with malware designed to steal money playing a key role.

"The popularity of banking Trojans and other programs targeting financial data is due to the fact cybercriminals can use them to make money quickly," Lozhkin added.

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"The current situation has forced users and financial institutions to take active measures against online threats, while security software vendors have to develop new protection solutions."

In 2013, the mobile malware segment experienced a growth of 20 times in the number of mobile apps capable of stealing money from users’ bank accounts that were mainly aimed at the owners of Android smartphones.

Even though banking Trojans such as Zbot, Carberp, and SpyEye programmes contributed for about two-thirds of financial malware during the year, their share decreased when compared to 2012 as most of the attacks were aimed for Bitcoin users.

During the year, the attacks using keyloggers, which intercept keystrokes, also decreased as cybercriminals opt for better specialised programmes over Trojans.

Majority of financial cybercrime’s were reported in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Mongolia, Myanmar, Peru, Turkey and Ethiopia, where the attacks accounted for over 12% of all malware attacks.

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