By Scott Thompson
Consumers making use of banking services via their smartphones are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals. AVG Technologies, the provider of internet and mobile security to 128 million active users, has released its Q3 2012 Community Powered Threat Report which shows how opportunistic hackers are tailoring malware known as Zitmo (or Zeus-in-the-Mobile).
Currently, Zitmo is targeting Android mobile users in Germany. The attack exploits the two-factor authentication process many banks have put in place to protect their customers including the traditional user/password authentication and a Transaction Authentication Number (TAN), which is sent as a text message to the user’s mobile device. Zitmo intercepts this communication and harvests the details in order to gain access to user bank accounts.
Consumers using social networks were also hit this quarter by an explosion of attacks using the Blackhole Exploit kit that targeted the likes of Facebook. The attack left users unable to log-on to their accounts or access any games or applications as cybercriminals coordinated the attacks from multiple external advertising servers, which generated an exceptional increase from 250,000 attacks to over 1.6 million recorded events within an eight hour period.
“Zitmo is not new malware as such; but the new ways in which we are seeing cybercriminals use it underlines this worrying trend of socially engineering security attacks to match evolving consumer habits,” says Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist at AVG Technologies. “We always recommend consumers exercise care when sourcing and downloading apps onto their smartphones, as unofficial third party sites are usually the best places for cybercriminals to seed malware-ridden versions of popular apps. People get caught out because they cannot tell if they have the malware on their phone, so it’s best to install mobile security software and keep it updated in order to have peace of mind when using mobile banking and social networking services.”
To download the Q3 2012 Community Powered Threat Report, visit: http://mediacenter.avg.com/en/press-tools/avg-threat-reports/avg-community-powered-threat-report-q3-2012.html