G Data says it found malicious code hidden deep in the propriety software of the Chinese made Star N9500 smartphone. (Frank Born, G Data Software, AP, file)
Cape Town - Consumers are not exclusively to blame for banking fraud, says an international organisation.
Multiple media reports have indicated that cyber criminals are actively targeting smartphone users with a range of malicious software designed to steal financial information.
Rogue applications on mobile phones, spam and weak passwords contribute to the compromise of personal and financial data, but criminals can create compelling ways to target consumers.
“Considering the dynamic nature of banking fraud in South Africa, it would be unfair to simply blame users. With the methods of attack changing regularly, customers are being targeted in different ways using different channels,” Xavier Larduinat, senior technologist at Gemalto told Fin24.
Local banks have built security into their IT operations, reducing incidents of fraud.
Financial data theft
READ: 8 top tips for hacker-proof passwords
According to South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), credit card fraud decreased 28.6% from R353.3m in 2014 to R252.2m in 2015.
“As security around certain channels improves, attackers also turn their attention to newer channels that do not have the same level of protection,” said Larduinat.
Sabric data showed that Card Not Present (CNP) fraud increased by 12.6% to account for 75% of losses relating to South African issued credit cards.
“As the target base of smartphone users grows exponentially across the globe, more and more cyber-criminal groups, many of which are tremendously well organised, are now actively using malware or mobile OS vulnerabilities to steal credentials either directly from users or via organisations holding personal data,” Larduinat said.
Security firm Kaspersky Lab identified Trojan malware capable of stealing financial data specifically aimed at South African mobile phones.
Examples of Trojan Banker malware include Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Locky which is a new ransomware software sent out from cyber criminals as either a Microsoft Word or Zip attachment.
READ: Advertising malware targets SA smartphones
According to the US FBI, fraudsters stole $2.3bn from 17 642 businesses in 79 countries by posing as company executives and tricking junior employees into transferring cash.
Larduinat said that criminals also use sophisticated tools to lure victims through applications which pose a risk with respect to personal data.
“With mobile apps playing such a dominant role in our daily lives, most users have a number of them on their devices - enabling them to create and share content, and transact in ways never possible before. With such deliberate and considered efforts to commit fraud, blaming users only would be counter-productive.”
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