NewsJanuary 24, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Leaked Source Code May Lead to More Banking Trojan Attacks, Researchers Warn

The security problems that have plagued Android devices in the past continue to dominate headlines. Now, security researchers from Russian antivirus specialist Dr. Web reported that cybercriminals had posted the source code for an Android Trojan and instructions on how to make the most of it on an underground hacking forum.

The researchers said the open availability of the code could lead to an increased risk of banking Trojan attacks. Android users, both businesses and individual consumers, should take appropriate security steps.

Banking Trojan Source Code Leaked

The miscreants, Dr. Web reported, published the malware’s source code about a month ago. Even more worryingly, the firm has already detected instances of this code in the wild.

Fraudsters modified the original source code and released a banking Trojan known as Android.BankBot. This Trojan is injected into Android application packages (APKs) and distributed through popular applications that are available online or via third-party app stores, The Hacker News reported.

Android.BankBot tracks the launch of banking applications, payment services and social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to steal the device owner’s personal information.

The Trojans Are Coming

The Trojan then uploads stolen data online and provides a way for cybercriminals to steal cash through a back-end application. Android.BankBot can also intercept and send text messages, and prevent users from accessing important messages from financial organizations.

But the distribution of the source code behind Android.BankBot is even more newsworthy than the potential loss of personal information and banking details. According to Dr. Web, Trojans are normally created by virus writers and sold online for significant amounts of cash — not posted for free. Researchers at the firm predicted that many similar Trojans will soon appear due to the availability of the source code.

Advice for Android Users

The Trojan relies on tricking users into granting administrator privileges. Users should be suspicious of applications asking for access to deep-lying functionalities and avoid providing undue privileges.

The Hacker News also advised IT leaders to turn off the ability to download APKs from third-party sources, educate users about the risk of opening attachments or clicking links from unknown sources and avoid unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.

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Mark Samuels

Tech Journalist

Mark Samuels is an experienced business technology journalist with an outstanding track record in research. He specializes in the role of chief information officers (CIOs) and is adept at helping executives understand the business benefits of complex technologies. Key areas of interest include innovation, digital transformation, cloud computing, mobility, information security, ecommerce and big data. Mark has written articles for national newspapers, including The Guardian, The Times and The Sunday Times. He has also produced features and columns for a range of IT trade publications, such as Computer Weekly, ZDNet, Tech Republic, IT Pro, Channel Pro, CBR and The Register.