Financial cyberthreats in 2022
2023-3-29 18:0:2 Author: securelist.com(查看原文) 阅读量:19 收藏

Financial gain remains the key driver of cybercriminal activity. In the past year, we’ve seen multiple developments in this area – from new attack schemes targeting contactless payments to multiple ransomware groups continuing to emerge and haunt businesses. However, traditional financial threats – such as banking malware and financial phishing, continue to take up a significant share of such financially-motivated cyberattacks.

In 2022, we saw a major upgrade of the notorious Emotet botnet as well as the launch of massive campaigns by Emotet operators throughout the year. For instance, malicious spam campaigns targeting organizations grew 10-fold in April 2022, spreading Qbot and Emotet malware. We also witnessed the emergence of new banking Trojans that hunt for banking credentials, and greater activity on the part of some well-known ones, such as Dtrack, Zbot and Qbot.

The good news is that regardless of these continuous advancements, we’ve witnessed a steady decrease in the number of attacks by banking Trojans. Security solutions integrated into operating systems, two-factor authentication and other verification measures have helped reduce the number of vulnerable users. Additionally, in many markets mobile banking has been pushing out online banking, with more and more convenient and secure banking apps emerging.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency became a prominent target for those seeking monetary gain. The amount of cryptocurrency-related phishing grew significantly in 2022, and with an endless array of new coins, NFT and other DeFi projects, scammers are continuously duping users. Funds lost via cryptocurrency are hard to track and impossible to return with the help of a regulatory body, as is done with banks and fiat currency, so this trend is likely to continue gaining traction.

Some advanced persistent threat (APT) actors also started tapping into the cryptocurrency market. We previously reported on the Lazarus group, which developed VHD ransomware for the purpose of monetary gain. Now we see that APT actors have also switched to crypto. BlueNoroff developed an elaborate phishing campaign that targeted startups and distributed malware for stealing all crypto in the account tied to the device. They impersonated numerous venture capital groups and investors with considerable success. The NaiveCopy campaign, another example of an advanced threat, targeted stock and cryptocurrency investors in South Korea. And there is more room for further development – hardware wallets and smart contracts could provide a new juicy target for attackers.

This report shines a spotlight on the financial cyberthreat landscape in 2022. It presents a continuation of our previous annual financial threat reports (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), which provide an overview of the latest trends across the threat landscape. We look at phishing threats commonly encountered by users and companies, as well as the dynamics of various Windows and Android-based financial malware.

Methodology

For this report, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of financial cyber threats in 2022. We focused on malicious software that targets financial services institutions such as online banking, payment systems, e-money services, online stores, and cryptocurrency services. This category of financial malware also includes those seeking unauthorized access to financial organisations’ IT infrastructures.

In addition to financial malware, we also examined phishing activities. This entailed studying the design and distribution of financially themed web pages and emails that impersonate well-known legitimate sites and organizations with the intention of deceiving potential victims into disclosing their private information.

To gain insights into the financial threat landscape, we analyzed data on malicious activities on the devices of Kaspersky security product users. Individuals who use these products voluntarily made their data available to us through Kaspersky Security Network. All data collected from Kaspersky Security Network was anonymized.

We compared the data from 2022 to that of 2021 to identify year-on-year trends in malware development. However, we also included occasional references to earlier years to provide further insights into the evolutionary trends in financial malware.

Key findings

Phishing

  • Financial phishing accounted for 36.3% of all phishing attacks in 2022.
  • E-shop brands were the most popular lure, accounting for 15.56% of attempts to visit phishing sites.
  • PayPal was the almost exclusive focus of phishers in the electronic payment systems category, with 84% of phishing pages targeting the platform.
  • Cryptocurrency phishing saw 40% year-on-year growth in 2022, with 5,040,520 detections compared to 3,596,437 in 2021

PC malware

  • The number of users affected by financial malware continued to decline in 2022, dropping by 14% from 2021.
  • Ramnit and Zbot were the most prevalent malware families, targeting over 50% of affected users.
  • Consumers remained the primary target of financial cyberthreats, accounting for 61.8% of attacks.

Mobile malware

  • The number of Android users attacked with banking malware decreased by around 55% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
  • Bian surpassed Agent as the most active mobile malware family in 2022, with 22% of attacks compared to Agent’s 20%.
  • The geographical distribution of affected users by Android banking malware in 2022 shows that Spain had the highest percentage of targeted users with 1.96%, followed by Saudi Arabia with 1.11% and Australia with 1.09%.

Financial phishing

Phishing continues to be one of the most widespread forms of cybercrime thanks to the low entry threshold and its effectiveness. As we covered previously, cybercriminals can launch phishing campaigns with minimal effort by purchasing ready-made phishing kits.

Phishing is typically built around a classic scheme: first create a website, then craft emails or notifications that mimic real organizations and prompt users to follow a link to the site, share their personal or payment information, or download a program disguised as malware. Phishers mimic every type of organization, including banks, government services, retail and entertainment, as long as the service has a strong user base.

Financial services in particular are of high interest to phishers due to the direct connection to money and payment data. In 2022, 36.3% of all phishing attacks detected by Kaspersky anti-phishing technologies were related to financial phishing.

Distribution of financial phishing cases by type, 2022 (download)

In this report, financial phishing includes banking-specific, but also e-shop and payment systems.

Payment-system phishing refers to phishing pages that mimic well-known payment brands, such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. E-shops mean online stores and auction sites such as Amazon, Aliexpress, the App Store, and eBay.

In 2022, e-shop brands were the most popular type of lure used by phishers. 15.56% of attempts to visit phishing sites blocked by Kaspersky in 2022 were related to e-shops. If we look at the distribution within financial phishing, e-shops account for 42% of financial phishing cases. E-shops were followed by payment systems (10.39%) and banks (10.39%). Online shopping continues to grow worldwide and, accordingly, the number of brands that are being mimicked by phishers grows with novel schemes appearing on a regular basis.

E-shop brands most frequently exploited in financial phishing schemes, 2022 (download)

In 2022, Apple remains the most exploited brand by scammers, with almost 60% of attacks. The allure of winning the latest model of a new device has proved irresistible to many users, especially during the current global crisis with increasing prices. Not only did we see a spike in these types of scams during major Apple events, but also scammers frequently use Apple to lure victims by offering, for instance, newly released iPhones as prizes for predicting match outcomes during major events like the FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Amazon remained in second place with 14.81% of attacks.

In the realm of electronic payment systems, PayPal has traditionally been a popular target for exploitation by scammers. However, recent data indicates that this year it is not only the primary but the near exclusive focus of phishers, with a staggering 84.23% of phishing pages for electronic payment systems targeting PayPal. As a result, the shares of other payment systems have plummeted, with MasterCard International down to 3.75%, Visa Inc. down to 3.10%, and American Express down to 2.02% in 2022.

Payment system brands most frequently exploited in financial phishing schemes, 2022  (download)

Example of a phishing page mimicking the PayPal login page

Example of a phishing page mimicking the PayPal login page

Cryptophishing

In 2022, cryptocurrency phishing rose sufficiently to be included as a separate category. While the total number of attempts to visit such sites makes up just a fraction (0.87%) of all phishing, this category of phishing demonstrated 40% year-on-year growth with 5,040,520 detections in 2022 compared to 3,596,437 in 2021. This boom in cryptophishing may be partially explained by the cryptomarket havoc we saw last year. That said, it is so far unclear whether the trend will continue, and this will significantly depend on the trust users put in cryptocurrency.

Example of a phishing page offering crypto

Example of a phishing page offering crypto

Cryptoscams exploit the topic of cryptocurrency to deceive people and steal their money, often through promises of high returns on investments. Common types include Ponzi schemes, ICO scams, phishing scams, and fake wallet scams.

Example of a phishing page asking for crypto details

Example of a phishing page asking for crypto details

Banking malware

This section analyzes banking malware used for stealing login credentials for online banking or payment systems, as well as capturing one-time passwords for two-factor authentication.

Our analysis of financial cyberthreats in 2022 revealed that the number of users affected by financial malware continued to decline. The figures showed a decrease from 405,985 in 2021 to 350,808 in 2022, marking a 14% drop. This decline followed the trend observed over the previous years, with a 35% drop in 2021, a 20% decline in 2020, and a near 13% decrease in 2019. Financial PC malware is on the wane due to the challenges and costs associated with maintaining and developing a botnet capable of successfully attacking users. To execute a successful attack, the Trojan must wait until the user manually logs in to their bank’s website, which has become more infrequent with the growth in popularity of mobile banking apps. Furthermore, the latest versions of operating systems come with built-in security systems, and prolonged presence in the system raises the probability of malware detection. This might also indicate a pivot toward advanced targeted attacks as cybercriminals start to prioritize large business targets.

Additionally, cybercriminals are adapting their tactics to exploit the shift toward mobile banking. As users increasingly switch to phone banking, attackers are developing new techniques to compromise mobile devices and steal sensitive information.

Dynamic change in the number of unique users attacked by banking malware in 2021 – 2022  (download)

Main actors among banking malware

Our 2022 analysis of financial cyberthreats revealed the presence of several families of banking malware with varying lifecycles. Ramnit emerged as the most prevalent malware family with a share of 34.4%, followed by Zbot with 16.2%. Interestingly, the analysis highlights that over 50% of affected users were targeted only by these two families. Ramnit activity increased substantially compared to the previous year, when its slice was only 3.4%. This malware worm spreads through spam emails with links to infected websites, and steals financial information. Emotet, previously named by Europol the world’s most dangerous malware, made a return to the Top 3 most active malware families after law enforcement shut it down in January 2021.

The lifecycle of Emotet vividly demonstrates how malware families continue to evolve and expand their capabilities to infiltrate and compromise financial systems.

Top 10 PC banking malware families

Name Verdicts %*
Ramnit/Nimnul Trojan-Banker.Win32.Ramnit 34.4
Zbot/Zeus Trojan-Banker.Win32.Zbot 16.2
Emotet Trojan-Banker.Win32.Emotet 6.4
CliptoShuffler Trojan-Banker.Win32.CliptoShuffler 6.2
IcedID Trojan-Banker.Win32.IcedID 4.1
Trickster/Trickbot Trojan-Banker.Win32.Trickster 4.0
SpyEye Trojan-Spy.Win32.SpyEye 3.4
RTM Trojan-Banker.Win32.RTM 2.5
Gozi Trojan-Banker.Win32.Gozi 2.4
BitStealer Trojan-Banker.MSIL.BitStealer 1.6

* Unique users who encountered this malware family as a percentage of all users attacked by financial malware.

Geography of attacked users

In this year’s report, we calculated the percentage of Kaspersky users in each country that encountered a financial cyberthreat relative to all users that were attacked by financial malware. This approach helps us identify the countries with the highest risk of computer infection due to financial malware.

The 2022 report shows the distribution of financial malware attacks across different countries. The Top 20 countries in the list below account for more than half of all infection attempts.

Top 20 countries and territories by share of attacked users

Country or territory* %**
Turkmenistan 6.6
Afghanistan 6.5
Tajikistan 4.9
China 3.3
Uzbekistan 3.3
Yemen 3.3
Sudan 2.9
Mauritania 2.8
Egypt 2.5
Azerbaijan 2.5
Venezuela 2.5
Paraguay 2.5
Switzerland 2.4
Syria 2.4
Libya 2.3
Algeria 2.2
Iraq 2.0
Indonesia 1.9
Bangladesh 1.8
Pakistan 1.8

* Excluded are countries and territories with relatively few Kaspersky users (under 10,000).
** Unique users whose computers were targeted by financial malware as a percentage of all unique users of Kaspersky products in the country.

The data shows that Turkmenistan has the highest share of attacked users with 6.6%, followed by Afghanistan and Tajikistan with 6.5% and 4.9% respectively.

Types of users attacked

The 2022 numbers show that the distribution of financial cyberthreats remained relatively stable, with consumers (61.8%) still being the primary target and corporate users (38.2%) accounting for a smaller percentage of attacks. The 2022 increase is relatively small, at less than 1%, and does not represent a significant shift in the overall distribution of attacks.

Malware attack distribution by type (corporate vs consumer), 2021 – 2022 (download)

This can be attributed to the fact that the world has become accustomed to the new style of post-pandemic work, with many companies continuing to operate in remote or hybrid work modes. The trend of working from home or remotely is no longer new, and many companies have adapted to it. As a result, they have also learned how to deal with potential threats and have implemented measures to ensure the security of their employees’ devices and data. Now employees are likely using similar devices and security measures for personal and work purposes, making it harder for cybercriminals to differentiate between consumer and corporate targets.

Mobile banking malware

We have been observing a steady and steep downward trend in the number of Android users affected by banking malware for at least four years now. In 2022, the number of Android users attacked with banking malware was 57,219, which is more than 2.5 times less than the figures reported in the previous year, representing a drop of around 55%.

This trend marked a continuation from previous years, with the number of Android users attacked dropping by 55% in 2020 and by almost 50% in 2021, resulting in a total of 147,316 users affected in 2021.

Number of Android users attacked by banking malware by month, 2020 – 2022 (download)

Despite the steady decline in the number of Android users affected by banking malware, it is important for users not to become complacent, as cybercriminals continue to evolve their malware and find new ways to carry out attacks. In 2022, we identified over 200,000 new banking Trojan installers, which is twice the number reported in the previous year.

Comparing the most active mobile malware families of 2021 to those of 2022, we see some significant changes. In 2021, Agent was the most prevalent mobile malware, representing 26.9% of attacks. However, in 2022, Bian surpassed Agent as the most active mobile malware family, with 24.25% attacks compared to Agent’s 21.57%.

As for the other malware families on the list, Anubis (11.24%) and Faketoken (10.53%) maintained their positions in the Top 5, respectively. Asacub also remained in the Top 5 list, with almost 10% of attacks, but dropped to fifth place from its third-place ranking in 2021.

Top10 Android banking malware families

Name Verdicts %*
Bian Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Bian 24.25
Agent Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Agent 21.57
Anubis Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Anubis 11.24
Faketoken Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Faketoken 10.53
Asacub Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Asacub 9.91
Svpeng Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng 6.08
Cebruser Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Cebruser 5.23
Gustuff Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Gustuff 3.13
Bray Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Bray 2.27
Sova Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Sova 2.14

* Unique users who encountered this malware family as a percentage of all users attacked by financial malware.

Svpeng, which was the third most prevalent malware family in 2021, with 21.4% of attacks, dropped to sixth place in 2022, with 6.08% attacks. Meanwhile, Cebruser, Gustuff, Bray, and Sova entered the list.

Geography of attacked users

The geographical distribution of affected users by Android banking malware in 2021 shows some differences between the two lists of Top 10 countries and regions. In the first list, Japan had the highest percentage of targeted users with 2.18%, followed by Spain with 1.55%, while in the second list, Spain had the highest percentage with 1.96%, followed by Saudi Arabia with 1.11%.

Australia appeared in both lists, with a 0.48% share in the first list and a 1.09% share in the second. Turkey also appeared in both lists, with a 0.71% share in the first list and a 0.99% share in the second. Italy had a 0.29% share in the first list and a 0.17% share in the second list, while Japan had a 0.30% share in the second list.

Top 10 countries and territories, 2021

Country or territory* %**
Japan 2.18
Spain 1.55
Turkey 0.71
France 0.57
Australia 0.48
Germany 0.46
Norway 0.31
Italy 0.29
Croatia 0.28
Austria 0.28

* Countries and territories with relatively few users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions (under 25,000) have been excluded from the rankings.
** Unique users attacked by mobile banking Trojans as a percentage of all Kaspersky mobile security solution users in the country.

Top 10 countries and territories, 2022

Country or territory* %**
Spain 1.96
Saudi Arabia 1.11
Australia 1.09
Turkey 0.99
Switzerland 0.48
Japan 0.30
Colombia 0.19
Italy 0.17
India 0.16
South Korea 0.16

* Countries and territories with relatively few users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions (under 25,000) have been excluded from the rankings.
** Unique users attacked by mobile banking Trojans as a percentage of all Kaspersky mobile security solution users in the country.

Overall, the two lists show that banking malware continues to be a global threat, affecting users in different countries and regions.

Conclusion

Year 2022 demonstrated that banking malware attacks continue to decline, both for PC and mobile malware. Still, the number of such attacks remains significant and users, as always, need to stay vigilant. At the same time, cybercriminals are switching their focus to cryptocurrency, as these attacks are harder to track. With new payment systems emerging, we are sure to see new attacks in the future and, potentially, yet more targeting of cryptocurrency.

Additionally, financial phishing schemes remain a top category in all phishing, with fraudsters continuing to hunt for banking and other sensitive data, exploiting trusted brands. This activity isn’t likely to die down, and we will continue to witness new schemes emerge on a regular basis.

For protection against financial threats, Kaspersky recommends to:

  • Install only applications obtained from reliable sources
  • Refrain from approving rights or permissions requested by applications without first ensuring they match the application’s feature set
  • Never open links or documents included in unexpected or suspicious-looking messages
  • Use a reliable security solution, such as Kaspersky Premium, that protects you and your digital infrastructure from a wide range of financial cyberthreats

To protect your business from financial malware, Kaspersky security experts recommend:

  • Providing cybersecurity awareness training, especially for employees responsible for accounting, that includes instructions on how to detect phishing pages
  • Improving the digital literacy of staff
  • Enabling a Default Deny policy for critical user profiles, particularly those in financial departments, which ensures that only legitimate web resources can be accessed
  • Installing the latest updates and patches for all software used

文章来源: https://securelist.com/financial-cyberthreats-in-2022/109219/
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