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19,000 people targeted in new UK banking Trojan malware

Malicious attacks on email addresses associated with UK banks has rocketed in the past week, with over 19,000 people reportedly targeted according to Bitdefender.

The malware attack is executed when the user downloads an archive from an email. The malware is a Trojan named Dyre, capable of sitting on a computer for years and only booting up when a user opens a banking application.

Dyre takes the online banking details, allowing them to control all of the system. It is similar to the targeted malware attack Zeus in 2013, which some banks are still recovering from after losing thousands to the Trojan.

Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds and Santander were all targeted in the latest malware attack, although it is unclear how many of the targeted customers actually opened or received the email. Newer email clients like Inbox, Gmail and Outlook regularly push spam into a separate folder, from anyone looking remotely suspicious.

Dyre is a worrisome Trojan because it can do more than steal bank accounts, if the creator adds more code to it. This means custom version of the Trojan would be able to steal log-in details for Facebook, Google and other services.

“Through a man-in-the-browser attack, hackers inject malicious Javascript code, allowing them to steal credentials and further manipulate accounts, all completely covertly,” said Bitdefender.

Banks are one of the prime targets for hackers, due to the lucrative rewards if one person opens the link. Attacks on Facebook, Google and other social networks are much easier, with social engineering allowing hackers to snatch an account without needing to build a virus.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.