Hackers use frequent flyer miles as currency

Kaspersky Lab also says the notorious banking Trojan ZeuS is being introduced into the smartphone market.

Unsatisfied with stealing bank account information from their victims, cybercriminals steal frequent flyer miles, too. The miles are used as currency among some of the miscreants, according to a report released today by the malware fighters at the Kaspersky Lab.

"In one IRC [Internet Relay Chat] message, a cybercriminal was selling access to a Brazilian botnet that sends spam in exchange for 60,000 miles, while, in another message, air miles were offered for stolen credit cards," Kaspersky analyst Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky wrote in the company's monthly malware statistics report.

"This coincides with our predictions for 2011 in which we stated that cybercriminals would be interested in all kinds of information and ready to steal absolutely everything," he added.

Google Anti-Hacking Move

One of the most remarkable events during July, the report said, was Google's exclusion of more than 11 million URLs from the ".co.cc" domain, which is fourth largest domain in the world. "The reason for such drastic measures was due to the domain’s URLs regularly being used by cybercriminals to spread rogue antivirus programs or conduct drive-by attacks," Kaspersky reported.

The ".cc" domain belongs to the Cocos Islands. The "co.cc" belongs to a company in South Korea.

"The popularity of .co.cc among cybercriminals is explained by the fact that the domain registrar allows third-level domain names to be registered for free or for a very low price," the report noted.

"Our research shows that Google’s offensive has indeed resulted in cybercriminals using the .co.cc domains less frequently; however, they have merely started using the services of other domain zone registrars," it added.

"Therefore," it reasoned, "it is difficult to say how successful Google’s campaign has been. There is also the chance that legitimate, law-abiding domain owners have been inadvertently affected by Google’s actions."

Smartphone Trojan Woes

Another notable development in July cited by the report was the introduction of a version of the notorious banking Trojan ZeuS into the smartphone market. According to the report, nearly three quarters (73.9 per cent) of the infections from the mobile form of ZeuS, which is called ZitMo, are in phones running the Symbian operating system. This is followed by phones running Android (28.26 per cent), Windows CE (23.91 per cent), and Blackberry (4.35 per cent).

Kaspersky explained that ZitMo is designed to steal one-time pass codes, called mTans, sent by a bank to an account user's phones via short-text (SMS) message. "If a user’s computer is infected with ZeuS, and the mobile phone is infected with ZitMo, the cybercriminals gain access to the victim’s bank account and can intercept the one-time transaction password sent by the bank to the user," the report said. "In this case, even authentication using mTAN codes cannot prevent the victim’s money from being stolen from their bank account."

The report also noted that one of the largest leaks of personal data in the history of the Russian-language Internet occurred in July. Some 8000 text messages sent by subscribers of the mobile phone carrier MegaFon surfaced in the cache of the Russian search engine Yandex and were in the public domain for several hours, Kaspersky reported.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hackersGooglesecurityPhoneskaspersky lab

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?