Banking Trojans are stepping back in popularity, leaving the playground open for the new form of “online blackmail”.
Banking Trojans have been the malware of choice for cybercriminals for years. Developed to steal credentials for bank accounts, this form of online robbery has been harassing many users and Banks worldwide. However, ransomware turns to be more “user friendly” and much more “profitable” and is thus is quickly gaining popularity.
A banking Trojan attack requires a lot of preparation and resources to set up. It typically takes place through a phishing campaign that is aimed to lure a specific target. It usually tricks victims into opening a malicious attachment, or to click on a link that delivers the malware directly into their system. The moment the malware is installed, cybercriminals can gain access to the victim’s compromised computer, banking details, and login credentials. This way they can perform various cyber-crimes on the vulnerable machine, including abusing bank accounts, money transfers, identity theft and more.
The significant activity of ransomware recently is indicating another tendency. Banking Trojans are stepping back in popularity, leaving the playground open for the new form of “online blackmail”. Security experts are alarmed, because in the past few months there has been a major movement by the hacker community. Apparently, the new goal is to actively distribute and infect computers with ransomware. Institutions, Corporations, Organizations, Governments, and even normal online users are targeted and deceived by a wide range of sophisticated ransomware attacks. This appears to be the biggest big money maker strategy right now. Therefore, cybercriminal networks are getting fired up and quickly taking advantage of the malicious activities this new form of a blackmail provides. The reason is simple – it is safer to operate and provides better financial rewards.
Unlike Banking malware, which requires massive adaptation and tinkering for each targeted bank, malicious actors are able to modify ransomware very easily and without any special development. A quick Google Translate is enough to make some minor ransom note modifications and adapt the malware to the specific country. The code written for the virus remains the same – and is equally effective against people of all nationalities around the globe. Another major advantage for ransomware is that the victims effectively gift the hackers the requested sum – they do not need to expose themselves to danger trying to access the stolen bank accounts.. The payment is required in Bitcoins, which allows for total anonymity. Third parties cannot track and interrupt transfers of this digital currency.
On the other hand, Banking Security Systems are way tougher to trick. They can detect an attempt of fraud, block the abused money transfer, trace movements of funds and even indicate the hackers, which creates a real risk for the crooks to be caught.
Taking into account all these advantages of ransomware over Banking Trojans, it is easy to understand why it generates such a huge profit for its creators. Security experts are warning that this trend is rising with quick tempo and we can expect it to grow even further. Therefore, raising the awareness among online users is a crucial step towards ransomware infections prevention.