The Merkle

Emotet Banking Trojan Outsmarts 75% of All Antivirus Software

In the world of cybersecurity, the next threat is never too far away. Over the past few years, criminals have proven on multiple occasions that they can easily outsmart security researchers and experts. This has caused a lot of problems and damage already, yet it seems things may only get worse from here on out. A new banking Trojan is capable of getting past 75% of all antivirus software on the market today.

More Banking Trojan Fun for Everyone

If one trend in the world of cybercrime has upset people the most, it is the success of banking Trojans. As the name suggests, this type of malware can cause a lot of damage by stealing both financial credentials and sensitive personal information. A banking Trojan is usually designed to capture login credentials associated with online and mobile banking platforms. Such tools have become far more common among both computer and mobile device users in the past three years.

It seems this may only be the beginning, though. Security firm Bromium has come across a new type of banking Trojan which poses a far greater threat than anything we have seen in recent years. It is a polymorphic type of malware which successfully evades detection by antivirus tools. Although it is not uncommon for malware to evade detection, this new Trojan is particularly notable in that it can successfully bypass 75% of all known antivirus software in the world today.

The way malware has spread up until now is by utilizing various methods of distribution. Sending malicious email attachments in the form of PDF and Word documents has been a rather popular and successful strategy. At the same time, the malware code itself remained unchanged, so antivirus software has eventually received the necessary security updates to spot and halt these malicious files.

With a polymorphic banking Trojan such as Emotet, on the other hand, that is not a straightforward procedure. That’s because the malware’s code is capable of changing, allowing it to remain undetected by antivirus software. Although the success of this malware may have been a fluke for the time being, researchers are concerned about malware developers using this new technique on a larger scale in the future. If antivirus software doesn’t know what it needs to look for, it can’t identify potential threats.

Assuming criminals perfect this technique, things could get very ugly for computer and mobile users. Banking Trojans are only one type of malware which can cause major damage. Imagine if new types of ransomware could successfully evade detection by 75% of all antivirus software for an extended period of time. The whole world would suffer as a result, and victims would be forced to meet hackers’ demands in this regard.

For now, there is no convenient solution to address this problem other than working in a virtualized environment. If malware were to affect a virtual computing environment, the main computer would remain safe from harm. This is far too advanced and technical for the average home user, though. The best course of action, then, is to be highly suspicious of any email from an unknown sender, especially if it contains hyperlinks or attachments. We can only hope security researchers find a way to thwart this new method of attack sooner or later.