3% of all online banking malware detections were in Malaysia, US No 1 with 23%
14.3mil individual and 300K corporate subscribers of e-banking in Malaysia
SECURITY solutions provider Trend Micro Inc, in its recent TrendLabs 1Q 2014 Security Roundup report, said that Malaysia is among the 10 countries most affected by online banking malware.
About 23% of all online banking malware detections were in the United States, the most affected country in the first quarter of 2014, with more than 26,000 online banking malware detections.
Japan came in second with over 11,000 detections (10%) while India ranked third with over 10,000 detections (9%).
Brazil ranked fourth with a 7% share, followed by Turkey (4%), then France, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam and Australia, each with a 3% share.
“The report showed that Malaysians were not spared from the online banking malware menace. This is partly driven by the strong take-up of Internet banking,” said Victor Lo (pic above), South-East Asia regional consulting director at Trend Micro.
He said that as of June 2013, Malaysia’s Internet banking penetration rate was approximately half of the country’s population, with 14.3 million individual subscribers in addition to 300,000 corporate subscribers.
Lo warned that banking malware is exploring new techniques. Citing trends in Brazil as one of the example, he said that there is a significant rise in the number of malicious .CPL files (Control Panel files for Microsoft Windows) embedded in .RTF (Rich Text Format) documents in the country.
This is a significant change compared with the traditional delivery mechanism, which involves the attachment of ZIP and RAR files.
Mobile threats on the rise
Lo also revealed that the number of mobile malware and high-risk apps on the Android ecosystem passed two million in the first quarter.
As of end March 2014, the Android cumulative threat volume has hit 2.1 million. From that amount, 72% of the threats detected were mobile malware, while the remaining 28% were high-risk apps.
“The mobile threat landscape continues to grow at an even faster pace than last year… The explosion of repackaged apps – those that have been maliciously tempered with to pass Android’s security features – also contributed to the huge spike in mobile malware and high-risk app volume growth,” he said.
Lo added that the growth in mobile threats was largely motivated by the growing smartphone take-up rate.
eMarketer, in its report early this year, said that it expects 4.55 billion people worldwide to use a mobile phone this year. It added that between 2013 and 2017, mobile phone penetration will rise from 61.1% to 69.4% of the global population.
In the same report, eMarketer also expects the global smartphone audience to hit 1.75 billion in 2014, a 75% increase compared with the one billion registered in 2012. The number is expected to hit 2.5 billion by 2017.
“Although threats on [Apple Inc's] iOS devices are significantly lower than on Android devices, it does not mean that iOS is safe from threats. The key point I need to remind all is that mobile threats affects all types of phones. No one device is safe from it,” said Lo.
World Cup-themed attacks
Lo also highlighted cyber criminals’ continuous 'habit' of using some of the most-talked events, issues, games and movies to lure their victims to their traps.
These traps include live-streaming links of the World Cup, video games, promotional draw email, sales of the final match tickets and others. Lo said that information about these threats will be provided to the public via its online resource centre to help protect World Cup fans.
“Greed is motivating cybercriminals to take a non-traditional approach in the selection of unlikely targets, such as advanced threats to point-of-sale terminals, exploitation of disasters and significant world events,” said Lo.
Cybercriminals have been leveraging on major events for some time. Last year, hundreds of fake Iron Man 3 streaming sites emerged. Visitors hoping to watch the movie for free may have ended up having their computers affected by malware instead.
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