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A changing landscape: 2020 sees a global shift in financial malware threats

01 April 2021 Kaspersky

According to a new Kaspersky report, the financial threat landscape experienced a game-changing pandemic year. In the report, titled Financial Cyberthreats in 2020, it was found that while the overall volume of threats via PCs or mobiles decreased during this period, Kaspersky experts noticed cybercriminals using new and advanced propagation techniques. The geography of attacks has become more diversified and extensive – especially from a mobile financial malware perspective.

Traditionally a lucrative avenue for malicious users, these developments, and the focus on mobile represents a change of tack. Mobile bankers have experienced particular impact by this, being a type of malware that is designed to steal users’ credentials, or even funds from users’ accounts.

Back in 2019, the 10 countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware included:

Countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware in 2019

In 2020, the situation changed entirely, however, and Kaspersky experts report that all targeted countries have switched places on this chart. Russia, a longtime leader in this category, moved down to seventh place in 2020. At the same time, Japan and Taiwan, absent from the list of affected countries in 2019, rose rapidly to occupy the top two spots.

Countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware in 2020

“In 2020, we observed a number of new countries becoming a hotbed for cyber-infections. The clearest example of this is Japan, which faced a wave of attacks from the Wroba.g banking Trojan. The bright side here is that most of these attacks can be prevented. Therefore, we urge users to take extra care when conducting mobile financial transactions,” comments Victor Chebyshev, security expert at Kaspersky.

To protect themselves from financial malware, Kaspersky experts advise users to take the following measures:
• Only install applications from reliable sources such as official stores
• Check what permissions the application requests – if they do not match the program’s functions, then they should be questioned
• Install a trusted security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect you against a wide range of financial cyber threats
• Install all latest updates and patches for existing software on a continuous basis

To learn more about financial malware and additional findings from the report, Financial Cyberthreats in 2020, visit Securelist.com.

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QUESTION

Covid-19 may accelerate certain industry trends. What are we likely to see?

ANSWER

Adoption of contactless technologies and digital experiences will likely be accelerating emerging technologies further
The consumer will expect safety and precautionary measures, driving the need for enhanced surveillance policies and technologies, which may pose potential privacy concerns
Rising activism among consumers and employees could drive an increased focus on corporate purpose
Value chain disruption is likely to lead to an increase in creative partnerships, which may in turn cause organisations to further invest in developing the mindset and agility to collaborate across sectors in the ecosystem
Cost management will be a critical priority to ensure business continuity based on cash flow requirements, to manage lower margins and revenues during a downturn
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