‘Tis the season: Trojan viruses, malware infections spike from online banking usage

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You may be familiar with Trend Micro; they’re a popular anti-virus and firewall provider. What you may not know is that cyber security firms like these compile data on internet activities,  including malware and anti-virus trends. Trend Micro’s latest report should make you sit up, especially if you bank online.

According to Trendlabs’ 3Q 2013 Security Roundup report, instances of online banking malware infections rose above the 200,000 mark, hitting 202,000 globally during the third quarter of this year. That’s a huge spike over the same period last year, when online banking-related malware infections numbered in at 132,000 throughout the world. That’s also the highest number of malware infections in a single quarter since 2002.

Trend Micro’s report states that infections were more widespread, as opposed to being concentrated in the Americas and Europe. While the U.S. still topped the charts, suffering 23 percent of total infections, Brazil was second with 16 percent. Japan was third with 12 percent and India was fourth with 6 percent.

Most of the online banking malware that spread during Q3 of this year were Zeus/ZBOT Trojan viruses, though Citadel malware was commonly found in Japan, attacking Yahoo! Japan, Gmail and financial institutions. 

So what can you do this holiday season to guard against anti-virus and other malware infections while you manage your funds through through the ‘net? Make sure your anti-virus programs, malware scanners and firewalls are up to date. Secondly, be sure to run scans on a regular basis; it’s not enough to simply have the program running in the background. Be proactive, and you shouldn’t have any problems.