The advancement of technology has unfortunately brought with it dreadful threats to the safety of our data and information. Some of the most feared threats are banking information and monetary theft done online through malware attacks also known as financial attacks.
How Do Financial Attacks Work?
There are several ways to which a financial attack can be spread. It can occur through spam campaigns and drive-by downloads. Spam campaigns can be shared in the form of a link or attached files from unknown senders or emails from well-known organizations (sometimes your bank) asking you to share your banking information.
Drive-by downloads on the other end commonly occur when you click on a deceptive pop-up window when you visit a new or unknown website. When the attack is launched, the user is blocked out of accessing their online banking account.
This allows the hacker to set up a fake account after accessing your credentials then use it to drain your accounts. This is a standard financial attack process, however, different attacks use different tools and gimmicks within the Trojans they use.
There is, in fact, a long list of Trojans that are used to steal money from bank accounts. The list comprises of financial Trojans which is of a peculiar type. Win32 Trojan is a generic detection designed to steal user data or place another malware.
The Zbot or Zeus is a Trojan that has frustrated many. The Trojan is designed to affect window users then retrieve vital and confidential data from the infected computers. Once installed on your computer, the Trojan even configures files and updates from the internet. The files are powered and even customized by a Trojan toolkit available to cyber criminals online.
The Trojan is powerful enough to collect important information in specific countries and use the data to log onto the victim’s online banking account and perform numerous unauthorized money transfers by use of complex computer networks. Many of the Zbot/Zeus perpetrators have been caught thanks to the Trojan server’s weak point – the Command and Control Server.
The single command and control design of the server makes it easier for law enforcement personnel to intercept the perpetrators during the crime. However, recently some of the smart cybercriminals have managed to address the weak point b designing a variant of the Trojan and introducing the Domain Generation Algorithm.
This algorithm design makes the chase harder, as the algorithm creates a list of domain names that the bots can jump on and connect in case they miss the server. Nearly 4 million systems in the U.S., have been attracted by Zeus/Zbot affecting more than 70,000 accounts including prominent corporations such as NASA and Bank of America.
Zeus also holds a spin-off known as Zeus Gameover. The Zeus Gameover Trojan has over a million casualties worldwide. The Gameover has removed the entire need of the Command and Control servers making the pursuit of the perpetrators a lot harder.
Similar to Zeus and Zeus Gameover, the SpyEye Trojan is designed to steal information such as banking credentials and social security numbers. However, the Trojan works through a key logger that retrieved the data for online bank accounts. SpyEye is also customized to target certain institutions as well as financial data. Once the victim’s device is infected, as soon as they initiate the online operation of their bank accounts the Spy Eye Trojan gets hard at work to empty their account.
Also a family of Zeus, the Shylock is designed to steal user’s financial data for fraudulent use. When installed on an infected computer, the Trojan communicates with the Command and Control servers and shares data to and from the infected PC.
To keep the perpetrator safe, the Shylock also uses the Doman Generation Algorithm. This type of malware is normally picked up through drive-by downloads in shady websites or via fake ads on the internet. These fake and malicious ads can even find their way into legitimate websites.
With a widespread in Russia, the Carberp Trojan is also believed to be highly deadly with the ability to even escape and bypass some antimalware programs. The Trojan allows the perpetrator to steal information from online banking platforms through infected PCs.
The Trojan then downloads new data from the criminals’ Command and Control servers primarily targeting banking systems and large corporations with larger transactions. Carberp Trojan is spread through email attachments or drive-by downloads.
The Torpig Trojan is a sophisticated member of the Zeus family and like its counterpart, it is designed to steal sensitive data such as bank accounts and credit card information. The Torpig creates a botnet which is a network of infected PCs.
CryptoLocker on the other end works as ransomware. The Trojan encrypts the data and displays a message on your screen prompting you to pay a certain amount of money within a timeframe so that your private information can be decrypted. You can use security measures to block it and remove it.
However, if your data is already encrypted, there is no way you can reverse the damage. This Trojan is very nasty as it not only steals your data but you may never get the chance to retrieve it. The most common way this Trojan is spread is through those phishing emails with attachments.
Financial Trojans are highly devastating, deadly and set back organizations and individuals. The good news is that you can always take measures to protect yourself from such distasteful attacks. Whether you choose to fortify your systems or networks with sophisticated designs or with high functioning anti-malware solutions, you will have added an extra layer of protection. You can even consult IT professionals for intricately secure solutions if you feel like you are lost.