Three fake Android banking apps phished for users’ credit card details and then leaked them online by transferring them to an exposed server.

On July 26, 2018, Slovakian security firm ESET reported that it notified Google about the three fake banking apps that were uploaded to the Google Play Store in June and July 2018. Each of the impostor programs promised to increase users’ credit card limits at one of three Indian banks and presented users with a form to supposedly collect their credit card information.

Upon completing the forms, the apps directed users to a final screen indicating that a “customer service executive” would be in touch soon. Instead, the applications sent users’ information in plaintext to a server where anyone with a link — not just the attackers — could access the saved data.

Fake Android Banking Apps Exploit Common Mobile Security Weaknesses

This campaign highlights attackers’ ongoing interest in mobile banking, which has given rise to a host of new security threats. First, fraudsters are now targeting users with fake mobile banking apps — and users often can’t distinguish between real and potentially malicious programs. According to Avast, 36 percent of users have mistaken fraudulent banking applications as legitimate.

At the same time, banks’ legitimate mobile applications often suffer from security weaknesses themselves. For instance, researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. discovered in December 2017 that even some “high-security” banking, stock trading, cryptocurrency and virtual private network (VPN) applications were susceptible to man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks due to failure to verify the hostname.

How Can Organizations Stave Off Mobile Banking Threats?

Security professionals should adopt a multipronged approach to defend their organizations against the threat of fake mobile banking apps. IBM experts recommend investing in mobile threat prevention (MTP) solutions, as well as a mobile device management (MDM) platform that allows access to only certain approved applications.

Security leaders can also protect Android devices from fraudulent apps by implementing unified endpoint management (UEM) and over-the-air (OTA) support.

Sources: WeLiveSecurity, Avast, University of Birmingham

More from

Did Brazil DSL Modem Attacks Change Device Security?

From 2011 to 2012, millions of Internet users in Brazil fell victim to a massive attack against vulnerable DSL modems. By configuring the modems remotely, attackers could redirect users to malicious domain name system (DNS) servers. Victims trying to visit popular websites (Google, Facebook) were instead directed to imposter sites. These rogue sites then installed malware on victims' computers. According to a report from Kaspersky Lab Expert Fabio Assolini citing statistics from Brazil's Computer Emergency Response Team, the attack ultimately…

Who Carries the Weight of a Cyberattack?

Almost immediately after a company discovers a data breach, the finger-pointing begins. Who is to blame? Most often, it is the chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO) because protecting the network infrastructure is their job. Heck, it is even in their job title: they are the security officer. Security is their responsibility. But is that fair – or even right? After all, the most common sources of data breaches and other cyber incidents are situations caused…

Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Encryption

With their vast increase in computing power, quantum computers promise to revolutionize many fields. Artificial intelligence, medicine and space exploration all benefit from this technological leap — but that power is also a double-edged sword. The risk is that threat actors could abuse quantum computers to break the key cryptographic algorithms we depend upon for the safety of our digital world. This poses a threat to a wide range of critical areas. Fortunately, alternate cryptographic algorithms that are safe against…

Securing Your SAP Environments: Going Beyond Access Control

Many large businesses run SAP to manage their business operations and their customer relations. Security has become an increasingly critical priority due to the ongoing digitalization of society and the new opportunities that attackers exploit to achieve a system breach. Recent attacks related to corrupt data, stealing personal information and escalating privileges for remote code execution all highlight the new and varied entry points threat actors have taken advantage of. Attackers with the appropriate skills could be able to exploit…