Security & Fraud

Kaspersky Lab Sees Spike In Mobile Banking Cyberattacks

Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity and anti-virus company, has reported a rise in a specific malware intended to steal money and credentials from people’s bank accounts.

The company found 29,841 files of the malware in Q1 of 2019, which is up from 18,501 in Q4. Attacks on upwards of 300,000 users were detected. Kaspersky Lab released its IT threat evolution in its Q1 2019 report.

“Mobile banking Trojans are one of the most rapidly-developing, flexible and dangerous types of malware. They usually steal funds directly from mobile users’ bank accounts, but sometimes their purpose is changed to steal other kinds of credentials,” the company said. “The malware generally looks like a legitimate app, such as a banking application. When a victim tries to reach their genuine bank app, the attackers gain access to that too.”

In the report, Kaspersky Lab detected around 30,000 modifications of different families of banking Trojans, which were trying to attack 312,235 users. In Q4 of 2018, mobile Trojans made up 1.85 percent of all mobile malware, in 2019 they’ve reached 3.24 percent.

“While users were subjected to a variety of mobile banking malware families, one was particularly active in the period: a new version of the Asacub malware accounted for 58.4 percent of all banking Trojans that attacked users. Asacub first appeared in 2015,” the company said. “The attackers spent two years perfecting its distribution scheme and, as a result, the malware peaked in 2018, when it attacked 13,000 users a day. Since then, its rate of spreading has closed down, although it remains a powerful threat: in Q1 2019, Kaspersky Lab detected Asacub targeting on average 8,200 users a day.”

Victor Chebyshev, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said the attacks are becoming more sophisticated by the day.

“The rapid rise of mobile financial malware is a troubling sign, especially since we see how criminals are perfecting their distribution mechanisms. For example, a recent tendency is to hide the banking Trojan in a dropper — the shell that is supposed to fly to the device under the security radar, releasing the malicious part only upon arrival,” he said.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.