Financial Malware Fell in 2014 As Takedown Operations Have Impact

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Brian Prince


One takedown at a time, security researchers and law enforcement were able to make a dent in financial cyber-crime last year.

According to Symantec, the number of detections of financial malware dropped off significantly in 2014. The total number of common financial Trojans detected decreased by 53 percent, while financial phishing emails fell by 74 percent. The U.S. had the most detections, with the UK and Germany rounding out the top three.

Overall, customers of 1,467 financial institutions were targeted by the Trojans Symantec observed. The most targeted institution is located in the U.S. and was the target of 95 percent of the Trojans.

While some malware families such as Trojan.Shylock nearly disappeared, others such as the new spin-off threat Infostealer.Dyranges stepped into the void, blogged Symantec security researcher Candid Wueest.

"In the U.S., there is a larger number of potential organizations to target, many of whom conduct banking online and have more wealth across the board, making the U.S. a good target for the attacker in terms of revenue per infection," he told SecurityWeek. "Additionally, English is well-understood as a language for international criminal activity."

Stolen bank accounts are sold for 5 to 10 percent of the balance value on underground cybercrime forums, according to Symantec.

"Stolen bank accounts do have a short shelf life and criminals intend to sell it quickly before the accounts get suspended," he said. "There is a constant supply of new compromised accounts and often the money mule accounts are the bottle neck."

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