What will Christmas bring? Experts predict mass attacks on online banking users
27 November 2013
The world's largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions Kaspersky Lab today said it has recorded several thousand attempts to infect computers used for online banking with a malicious program that its creators claim can attack ''any bank in any country''.
The Neverquest Trojan banker supports just about every possible trick used to bypass online banking security systems - web injection, remote system access, social engineering, and so on.
In light of the Trojan's self-replication capabilities, a sharp rise in the number of attacks involving Neverquest can be expected, resulting in financial losses for users all over the world.
The weeks prior to the Christmas and New Year holidays are traditionally a period of high malicious user activity.
As early as November there have been instances where posts were made in hacker forums about buying and selling databases to access bank accounts and other documents used to open and manage the accounts to which stolen funds are sent.
Neverquest appeared on the market even earlier – an advert looking for a partner to work with the Trojan on the servers of a group of cybercriminals, with their support, was posted in July of this year.
According to Sergey Golovanov, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab, ''After wrapping up several criminal cases associated with the creation and proliferation of malware used to steal bank website data, a few 'holes' appeared on the black market.
''New malicious users are trying to fill these with new technologies and ideas. Neverquest is just one of the threats aiming to take over the leading positions previously held by programs like ZeuS and Carberp.''
Neverquest steals usernames and passwords to bank accounts as well as all the data entered by the user into the modified pages of a banking website. Special scripts for Internet Explorer and Firefox are used to facilitate these thefts, giving the malware control of the browser connection with the cybercriminal's command server when visiting the sites of 28 sites on the list, including those that belong to large international banks - sites of German, Italian, Turkish and Indian banks, as well as payment systems.
Another function helps the malicious users replenish their list of targeted banks and develop code to be seeded on new websites that were previously not on the target list.
Of all of the sites targeted by this particular program, an investment fund appears to be the top target.
Its website offers clients a long list of ways to manage their finances online. This gives malicious users the chance to not only transfer cash funds to their own accounts but also to play the stock market, using the accounts and the money of Neverquest victims.
After gaining access to a user's account with an online banking system, cybercriminals conduct transactions and wire money from the user to their own accounts or – to keep the trail from leading directly to them – to the accounts of other victims.
Protection against threats such as Neverquest requires more than just standard antivirus, says Kaspersky Lab; users need a dedicated solution that secures transactions. In particular, the solution must be able to control a running browser process and prevent any manipulation by other applications.