Report: New banking trojans rise 80% each year

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According to Nokia’s 2021 Threat Intelligence Report, the number of new banking trojans increased 80% year-after-year in the first half of 2021. These trojans, which were found to be particularly active in Latin America and Europe, specifically target mobile banking on smart phones to steal personal banking credentials, SMS messages containing one-time passwords, and credit card information.

The report found that Android devices were targeted more often than iOS devices due to their developer openness. In 2020, 87% of Americans used a mobile device to check their bank balance, with 72.21% of all mobile devices in July 2021 being Androids and 26.92% iOS devices. These high statistics served as a catalyst for new threats with great potential to directly impact individuals.

To avoid these threats, online banking users are encouraged to go beyond using unique, strong passwords to use multi-factor authentication as well as private Wi-Fi networks when banking on their mobile devices to make it more difficult for cybercriminals to access and obtain personal information.

Pie chart: An outbreak of banking trojans. It's up 80% year-over-year. 36% came from Mobile Spyware, 20% came from Trojan, 18% came from Banking Trojan, 2% came from adware, 5% came from downloader, 5% came from infostealer, and 4% came from Other.

Above: This chart highlights the distribution of Android malware infections by class as observed in global mobile networks in 2021, emphasizing the increase in Trojan banking threats.

Image Credit: Nokia

Moving away from mobile threats, the report also found that the average monthly residential infection rate for fixed residential networks has leveled off at 2.5% since peaking at 3.24% in December 2020. While rates are still higher than March 2020’s low point of 1.1%, this decrease can be attributed to upgraded internet services put in place following stay-at-home and work-from-home orders globally, better identification of application vulnerabilities, and cybercriminals’ shifting focus to IoT and mobile devices.

Cybersecurity threats will continue to evolve to meet new opportunities, as seen with the increase in digital banking — reinforcing the importance of having online and endpoint security in place.

The report is based on data aggregated from network traffic monitored on more than 200 million devices globally where Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed.

Read the full report by Nokia.


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