European Banks SMS Systems Targeted By Cyber Criminals

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News coming out of Reuters says that a team of cyber criminals planning to use malware planted on Android mobile devices to steal from domestic bank customers raised more than $892,000 (50 million roubles) online to target lenders & banks in France and possibly a range of other western nations.

According to Group-IB, a Russian company specializing in preventing and investigating high-tech cyber crimes/fraud who investigated the attack with the Russian Interior Ministry, the gang succeeded in tricking Russian banks customers into downloading malware via fake mobile banking applications and visits to adult websites.

The 16 suspects arrested by Russian law enforcement authorities in November last year infected more than a million smartphones and tablets in Russia on average of 3,500 devices per day.

People with an inside of the investigation said that the hacker penetrated SMS text message transfer services of state lender named Sberbank, other banking entities such Alfa Bank and online payments company Qiwi which enabled them to capture customers data and was planning to use the same method to target large European banks including French lenders Credit Agricole , BNP Paribas and Societe Generale.

A spokeswoman for Sberbank said she had no information about the group involved. However, she said: “Several groups of cyber criminals are working against Sberbank. The number of groups and the methods they use to attack us change constantly.”

“It isn’t clear which specific group is being referred to here because the fraudulent scheme involving Android OS (operating system) viruses is widespread in Russia and Sberbank has effectively combated it for an extensive period of time.”

Alfa Bank did not provide a comment. Qiwi did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Android, a mobile operating system developed by Google after it bought it from Android Inc. in 2005 is based on the Linux kernel and designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

It has been the best-selling OS on tablets since 2013.

The source code is released by Google under an open source license, although most Android devices ultimately ship with a combination of free and open source and proprietary software, including proprietary software required for accessing Google services.

Google has taken steps in recent years to protect users from downloading malicious code and by blocking apps which are insecure, impersonate legitimate companies or engage in deceptive behaviors.

A Google spokesman said: “We’ve tracked this malware family for several years and will continue to take action on its variants to protect our users.”

To read more on this, visit Reuters.

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