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Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Warning Russian Worm Burrows Into Our Mobile Banking Network

Personal_Finance / Cyber War Jun 17, 2014 - 12:23 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Personal_Finance

Shah Gilani writes: This is a public service announcement. Really, you need to read this!

If you think your mobile banking app is safe, think again.

Right now, as in this very second, if you have a mobile banking app connected to USAA, Citigroup, American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, TD Bank, JPMorgan Chase, BB&T or Regions Bank, you could be in deep Svpeng.


Svpeng is a breed of malware that targets your mobile device. It doesn’t come from your bank, but gets onto your device through a “social engineering” campaign that uses text messages as a medium of infection.

The worm originally cropped up in Russia last year, where it was used to steal credit and debit card data from mobile phones. The American version does something different – and even more insidious.

You don’t want to get caught in this trap. Now, so you’ll know how to avoid it, I’ll tell you exactly how this worm turns …

Open Up – It’s the FBI!

Once on your phone, Svpeng looks for an app from one of the banking institutions identified above. If it finds an app associated with one of those banks, it locks your screen with – not so funnily enough – an FBI penalty notification letter. You’re supposed to believe the FBI is demanding you send it $200 in Green Dot MoneyPak cards.

To prove the FBI – that is, Svpeng – knows who you are, the worm takes a picture of you with your own phone and displays it. Which probably shows you looking dumbfounded, scared, or pissed off.

Besides the intrusive snapshot, this malware is, nonetheless, “user-friendly.” While it locks your screen, it’s thoughtful enough to suggest stores where you can buy MoneyPak vouchers and, of course, provides a data field into which you can type the voucher numbers.

This is not a joke – this is really happening.

The Moscow-based computer security company Kaspersky Lab discovered the U.S. version of Svpeng on June 11. According to Kaspersky, Svpeng does not currently steal online banking credentials, though the company believes it’s only a matter of time before the worm does so.

Kaspersky researchers say the malware also contains code that could be used to encrypt files stored on your device and demand money to unencrypt them.

“Once the device is infected, it’s almost impossible to get it out,” says Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of a Kaspersky global research and analysis team in Latin America.

On June 13, Roman Unuchek, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky, told American Banker, “It is impossible to repel an attack of American Svpeng if a mobile device doesn’t have a security solution – the malware will block the device completely. If I were a bank CIO, I would make sure that customers have proper mobile security in place.”

You’ve been warned.

I suggest you call your bank and ask them if they have a solution. Maybe they’re working on something you can download that hides their app from being identified by Svpeng.

Good luck! Oh, and by the way … smile – your phone may be about to take your picture.

Source : http://www.wallstreetinsightsandindictments.com/2014/06/beware-russian-worm-burrows-mobile-banking/

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