For the first time ever, mobile financial threats rank among the top ten malicious programs designed to steal money. Another alarming trend is the rapid spread of ransomware, which was detected by Kaspersky Lab in 200 countries and territories in this year alone.
Mobile financial threats mature
In 2015, traditional financial cybercrime hasn’t declined, however, in total, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked almost two million (1,966,324) attempts to launch malware capable of stealing money via online banking on computers, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2014 (1,910,520).
During the year, two families of mobile banking Trojans (Faketoken and Marcher) appeared in the Kaspersky Lab list of top 10 financial malware families.
The Faketoken family works in partnership with computer Trojans. A user is manipulated to install an application on their smartphone, which is actually a Trojan that intercepts the one-time confirmation code (mTAN). The malicious programs belonging to the Marcher family steal payment details from Android devices. It tracks the launch of just two apps after infecting a device – the mobile banking app of a European bank and Google Play. If the user starts either of these apps, Marcher displays a false window requesting credit card details which then are sent to the cybercriminals.
“This year cybercriminals focused time and resources in developing malicious financial programs for mobile devices. This is not surprising as millions of people worldwide now use their smartphone to pay for services and goods. Based on current trends, we can assume that next year, mobile banking malware will account for an even greater share,” says Yury Namestnikov, senior security researcher at Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.
The global nightmare that is ransomware
In 2015, ransomware rapidly expanded its presence on new platforms. One in six (17%) ransomware attacks now involves an Android device, barely a year after the platform was first targeted.
Kaspersky Lab experts identified two big ransomware trends during the year. The first is that the total number of users attacked by encryption ransomware was almost 180,000 an increase 48.3 percent compared to 2014. Secondly, in many cases the encryptors are becoming multi-module and include functionality designed to steal data from victim computers.
Other main trends in cybercriminal activity
Cybercriminals looking to minimize the risk of criminal prosecution switched from malware attacks to the aggressive distribution of adware. In 2015, adware accounted for 12 of the top 20 web-based threats. Advertising programs were registered on 26.1 percent of user computers.
Kaspersky Lab also observed new techniques for masking exploits, shellcodes and payloads to make the detection of infections and analysis of malicious code more difficult. Specifically, cybercriminals used the Diffie-Hellman encryption protocol and concealed exploit packs in Flash objects.
The geography of online attacks
80 percent of attack notifications blocked by antivirus components were received from online resources located in 10 countries. The top three countries where online resources were seeded with malware remained unchanged from the previous year: the United States (24.2%), Germany (13%), and the Netherlands (10.7%). This rating demonstrates that cybercriminals prefer to operate and use hosting services in different countries where the hosting market is well-developed.