NewsJanuary 30, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

Newly Discovered Banking Malware Creates Fresh Threat to Users

Researchers have found another threat that users have to worry about. Security firm Cyren recently discovered a wave of fake emails sent to finance customers containing banking malware that uses keylogging techniques to collect sensitive information.

Banking Malware Spread Through Phishing

The malware takes the form of a keylogger, which is sent as an attachment in a fake email. The email subject normally includes a false payment update or notification of an online wire transfer.

According to Cyren, the fake emails derive mainly from bots based in the U.S. and Singapore. The attackers design the emails to look as if they are associated with major financial institutions.

Victims are encouraged to open the email attachment for information about their payments. Although the file resembles a PDF, it is actually an executable that launches the banking malware.

What’s the Impact?

Cyren researchers reported that the activated program creates a file in the startup folder in Microsoft Windows. The script runs and executes the malware each time a user restarts or logs in on an infected PC.

The malware searches compromised machines for sensitive data, including passwords, usernames and cookies associated with web browsing. It also seeks out cryptocurrency wallets, according to Banking Technology. Potential currencies at risk include bitcoin, bytecoin, devcoin and quarkcoin.

Cyren noted that the malware creates hooks for both the keyboard and mouse, meaning it records everything a user types and each movement of the mouse.

What Should Users Do Now?

Softpedia advised users to be especially wary of emails containing payment information they are not expecting to receive. This particular attack follows similar threats to other platforms and services. Last week, in fact, researchers reported that leaked source code could lead to even more banking Trojan attacks.

According to a Kaspersky Lab study, the number of users affected by financial malware rose by more than 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, ITWeb reported. Users and IT managers must be aware that banking malware represents an ever-growing threat and utilize security best practices accordingly.

Share this Article:
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.