Cyber criminal threats are greatest for financial institutions, reveals report

As the WannaCry ransomware attacks recently made the headlines research has revealed that threats against financial groups are actually 2.5 times more prevalent, US-based software company Symantec has said.

While ransomware is common for cyber criminals, there is still a considerable amount of malware targeting financial organisations and their customers: as 2016 saw attacks at several such institutions lose millions to cyber criminals, Symantec research revealed.

Attacks against financial institutions are on the rise, with the growth of cyber crime groups going after financial institutions themselves rather than customers last year.

Researchers found that 38% of all financial threat detections were against corporations rather than consumers. Even though such attacks are harder to carry out and take longer to prepare, they yield a much higher profit, the report highlighted.

Although there was a 36% fall in detection numbers for financial malware in 2016 due to earlier detection in the attack chain, with more than 1.2 million annual detections, the financial threat space is still 2.5 times bigger than that of ransomware, the Symantec report said.

Symantec threat researcher Candid Wueest said: “With all the attention ransomware is getting lately, it is easy to overlook other threats, such as those that target the financial sector and its customers. However, these types of threats are a serious and costly problem for both businesses and consumers.”

The financial Trojan threat landscape is dominated by three malware entities– Ramnit, Bebloh, and Zeus – which together were responsible for 86% of all financial Trojan attack activity in 2016.

Written by Andrew Holt