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What is Financial Malware? How to Protect against it

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All you need to know on Financial Malware

Financial malware – the word is exactly how it sounds. Financial malware is a dangerous breed of malware designed and developed to steal financial information from victims’ accounts and embezzle money.

Everyone is busy talking about ransomware attacks, but the bigger threat has been shown to be financial malware. A recent report from Symantec reveals that twice as much as Ransomware attacks in 2016 were carried out on the Financial malware attacks. So, let ‘s understand what they are doing, and how they are functioning.

How does Financial Malware work?

The main targets of the fraudsters are electronic fund transfers (EFT) and Automated Clearing House (ACH). The financial institutions protect those transfers. The security measures do not come into play, however, if the fraudsters may trick the users in handing their account details. And they are doing just that.

Using the techniques of social engineering, users perform actions destined to come back and haunt them. The fraudsters trick users into clicking on a particular link or installing a malicious attachment that contains malware but indicates otherwise. Clicking on such a connection or downloading such file(s) can cause the malware to start running through the veins of your device before you even know it.

Once the computer / mobile is infected with the malware, the tricksters will lead the victims through a bogus identification process to enter their personal information. The malware harvests after all the details and now the imposters can easily execute fraudulent financial transactions.

Thus the entire financial malware process is performed in three phases.

  1. Infecting the system
  2. Fetching the personal information
  3. Performing bogus financial transactions

 

financial-malware

How do I protect against it?

1. DO NOT download pirated documents:

“I think drinking is a bit like piracy. You want to keep doing it all night, you pay the price the next day, “says Scott Lynch, author of American fantasy.

As much as we love watching unauthorized movies and TV shows (fancy word for pirated!), we all know it is illegal. And before you think about and respect the work of hundreds of people (film-makers, actors, editors, directors, etc.), you have to think more than anything else about yourself.

We know how difficult it is to turn down the unavoidable temptation to click on that download button, but all the fraudsters are searching for this. While you’re busy watching Game of Thrones season 7, the malware might be doing its rounds in the background, hunting down your secrets.

If it may sound tough, control the desire to download pirated content and avoid possible disasters.

2. Check every email’s sender and don’t answer unknown emails

When it comes to fooling online users, phishing emails are a tried and tested product. Often scammers send emails which prompt you to send sensitive information. Well, no. Do not forget to check the sender’s information if you receive such an email or any email for that matter. The picture below is a classic example of this sort of text.
phishing-email

3. Using authorised Banking apps

To manage your accounts and make transactions avoid using any third party applications. You should always insist that we use only official devices.

4. Check whether or not the Website is secure

See the address bar with the name of the organisation? Ok, for cosmetic reasons it isn’t. The HTTPS and organization name that you see in the URL indicates that there is a secure connection between your browser and the website’s server. This means the website is legal and belongs only to that entity.

Malicious websites do not have HTTPS quite often. You may see HTTPS occasionally, but there’s a very slim chance that the name of the organization will be shown in the address bar.

Each time you decide to perform a contract, make sure there are the following things:

In URL, HTTPS
Name of company / organisation shown in the address bar

If you’re showing those symptoms, you ‘re good to go.

5. Install malware identification and anti-virus tools

“Probability of human error is much greater than that of computer error,” late American mathematician Kenneth Appel said.

By not installing any pirated material and using the approved software, you may be all careful, but there is always a tiny bit of possibility that malware will reach the device. That’s why it’s highly recommended to use security software like anti-virus and anti-malware.

Last piece of advice

Considering the twice incidence of financial malware as notorious ransomware attacks, there is every reason to take it seriously. Financial malware detections totalled 1.2 million in 2016. In addition to implementing the above steps, there are certain additional measures that you must take care of as well.

  • Keep up-to – date Security Software and OS.
  • Keep track of your bank statements.
  • When you’re finished always log out of sessions.
  • Enable authentication with two factors.
  • Use strong passwords.

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