NewsJuly 17, 2017 @ 2:30 PM

New Malware Gets Stronger by Using Real Apps in Banking Attacks

Cybercriminals have traditionally tried to deceive victims with software applications that look legitimate, but a new malware approach is emerging in which malicious code gets embedded in bona fide apps, experts recently warned.

New Malware Targets Financial Data

Security firm Malwarebytes published a report that outlined an example of the technique based on a banking Trojan aimed at financial data. The malware in question is not highly sophisticated, the authors said, but makes use of the legitimate multimedia freeware FFmpeg to grab screenshots and full video of a user’s personal computer.

Online banking users should be particularly vigilant of this new malware because, as SC Media pointed out, it is capable of recognizing when someone visits a financial institution’s site. At that point it could not only monitor transactions, but also discover ways to bypass authentication controls and take over the victim’s machine.

Fortunately, the malicious code can be shut down using commonly available tools — if it’s detected in time.

Trojan Tricks Are Commonplace

Those developing banking Trojans have no end of tricks up their sleeves. In April, WeLiveSecurity reported on new malware aimed at Android devices that was disguised as a flashlight for mobile phones. The thing is, the flashlight actually worked — but so did the malicious code running in the background, which could do everything from breaking two-factor logins to locking the devices and making fraudulent activity more difficult to detect.

Another good example was JSocket, which was itself a spinoff of an earlier malicious program dubbed AlienSpy. As ZDNet explained in 2015, at the time, JSocket could target mobile devices and PCs by infiltrating software. Victims would still be able to use their apps, not realizing that new malware had been secretly installed on their machines.

Earlier this year, another WeLiveSecurity post reported on a banking Trojan that snuck into Good Weather, an app widely available on Google Play. Although it was only live for about two days, it managed to infiltrate devices of more than 5,000 victims.

Even what we think of as new malware can be particularly effective when paired with older software that’s more trusted and familiar.

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Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives in Toronto.