Cape Town - Nearly every malicious software program stalking internet users was focused on stealing personal information, a security firm has found.
According to Kaspersky Lab, spam monitoring in July revealed a lack of variety: Most of the malware appeared to be Trojan in nature.
"The notorious Zbot/ZeuS spyware programme alone accounted for 23% of all malicious attachments and targeted online banking service users logging in on a Windows system or using an Android mobile device," Kaspersky said.
Malware like this is able to infiltrate a user's PC and quietly report activity and send personal information back to its authors.
"The malware intercepts browser requests to the bank's website, and instead suggests that the user fill out various and sundry 'additional information' in order to 'ensure security'. However, instead of successfully logging in, the banking Trojan obtains unauthorised access to the user's money," the security firm said.
A common scam at this time of the year also involves an e-mail that offers a loan but the message is laced with a link designed to install malware on the user's computer.
Sars refund e-mails are also a common technique that relies on a user's behaviour gain access to financial information.
"In 2007 there were just over a million cyber-crime related software applications being used to steal identities. Today in 2013 there are more than 130 million such applications in use," Dawid Jacobs, head of the Independent Identity Verification Department at Forensics4Africa told News24.
The growth of the Android mobile operating system has not gone unnoticed by criminals.
Kaspersky revealed that the platform which now makes up around 79% of the mobile OS market has come under increasing attacks, with a new entrant making the it into the Top 20 e-mail threats.
"SMS-Flooder.AndroidOS.Didat.a, which targets the mobile Android operating system, ranked 15th and set a new record for this class of programme. Its functions allow it to orchestrate and send mass text messages."
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