Friday, May 24, 2024

Mobile banking Trojans threaten Asian smartphone users: Kaspersky

iOS and Android smartphone users in the Asia-Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to mobile banking Trojans and the hacker gangs that use them, warns cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

Suguru Ishimaru, senior malware researcher for Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky
Photo: Kaspersky

Researcher Suguru Ishimaru said that viruses such as Anubis are particularly damaging because they steal money from victims’ bank accounts, usually by disguising themselves as legitimate mobile banking apps. He added that Asians’ close relationships with their smartphones makes them particularly vulnerable to these kinds of Trojans.

“Anubis is known for compromising hundreds of bank customers per campaign, proving that it’s among the most active malware targeting Android users right now. Our recent findings show that the cybercriminals behind this threat have started implementing ransom functionalities,” Ishimaru said at the company’s recent 8th Cyber Security Weekend held in Phuket, Thailand.

“If this modification proves to be successful, chances are other malicious groups will copy the same technique of stealing data and holding devices hostage. As a result, I expect to see more of such attacks in APAC due to cybercriminals’ strong financial motivation.”

He also shared that the hacker group that calls itself “Roaming Mantis” is also a serious threat to APAC smartphone users – on iOS as well as Android.

The gang conducts malicious activities that target smartphones and distributes mobile malware by way of smishing and DNS hijacking. Since 2018, Kaspersky specialists have been monitoring Roaming Mantis’ activities and have identified almost half a million assaults in the APAC alone between 2021 and the first half of 2022.

The majority of malware attempts to infect Kaspersky users in Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, and China were thwarted, the company assured.

Ishimaru recommends the following steps to secure one’s smartphone against these threats:

  1. Basic security
    • Keep phones up-to-date and install the latest patches 
    • Reboot daily
    • Do NOT trust third-party apps and mobileconfig
    • Never click on links sent through SMS
    • Install a security solution like Kaspersky Total Security
  2. Advanced protection
    • Use a VPN to mask your traffic
    • Check live network traffic using live Indicator of Compromise (IOCs)
    • Use Lockdown Mode for iOS 16 users


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