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Password stealing and banking trojans have doubled in recent years

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Ai825)

Trojans that steal passwords and banking information from their victims have been constantly on the rise for the past two years. According to fresh figures from AT&T’s Alien Labs Open Threat Exchange, the number of threats increased between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020 by 130 percent. A year before that – Q3 2018 to Q3 2019, the number of threats was up 115 percent.

The company argues that cybercriminals “wake up” with the start of the third quarter of a year, and focus on retail targets at that time, mostly because the back-to-school shopping season starts and people spend more time shopping than usual.

This year, however, things have gotten even riskier for consumers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As it forced businesses to close their shops and move online, consumers were also forced to conduct most of their shopping online, as well. AT&T warns both businesses and consumers to be on the lookout, in order to best protect their passwords and their PIN numbers.

Besides making sure the operating systems, applications and antivirus solutions are up to date, consumers can also protect themselves by not clicking on links, or opening the attachments they receive in emails, especially if they can’t confirm its legitimacy with the sender through other channels (for example, via phone). Criminals have brought newsletter imitation almost to perfection, making it very hard for the average user to differentiate between a legitimate newsletter and a phishing email.  

Trojans aside, the company has also seen DDoS attacks spiking since August 2020, targeting “multiple industries”.