A recent public service announcement released by the FBI states that cyber criminals will start targeting mobile banking apps due to their increased usage with more people being at home.
According to the announcement, studies show that there is a 50% surge in mobile banking usage since the beginning of this year. The FBI expects that cyber criminals will exploit mobile banking apps in two ways:
- App-Based Banking Trojans: The FBI advises the public to be cautious when downloading apps on smartphones and tablets, as some could be concealing malicious intent. Cyber actors target banking information using banking trojans, which are malicious programs that disguise themselves as other apps, such as games or tools. When the user launches a legitimate banking app, it triggers the previously downloaded trojan that has been lying dormant on their device. The trojan creates a false version of the bank’s login page and overlays it on top of the legitimate app. Once the user enters their credentials into the false login page, the trojan passes the user to the real banking app login page so they do not realize they have been compromised.
- Fake Banking Apps: Actors also create fraudulent apps designed to impersonate the real apps of major financial institutions, with the intent of tricking users into entering their login credentials. These apps provide an error message after the attempted login and will use smartphone permission requests to obtain and bypass security codes texted to users. US security research organizations report that in 2018, nearly 65,000 fake apps were detected on major app stores, making this one of the fastest growing sectors of smartphone-based fraud.
The announcement also gives a few precautions to consider:
- Obtain apps from trusted sources
- Use two-factor authentication
- Use strong passwords and good password security
- Call us if an app appears suspicious
To read the full announcement released by the FBI, click here.