The Wild West's guide
to mobile banking malware

Or how Jesse James would rob your banking details

Did you know?

Prior to 1900, fewer than 10 bank robberies took place in the "Wild West".

In contrast, there were over 4 million financial attacks on mobile phones in 2014 alone.


one of the most successful bank
heists in the Wild West.


stolen by Zeus in 2012,
a mobile banking Trojan.

Jesse James' 6-step guide to mobile banking theft

A look into tactics used by hardened banditos, gunslingers, and garden-variety hackers.

Step 1: The Plan

Outlaws identify vulnerabilities, then develop exploits. If they don’t have the skills, they hire a bounty hunter on the black market.

Step 2: The Gear

Long coats, bandanas and pistols are passé. Today phishing emails and infected websites are the weapons of choice to secretly install malware on victims' phones.

Step 3: The Setup

If distracting the Sheriff and Deputy at the local saloon fails, banditos wait until their victims access their online bank accounts, then steal passwords and usernames. With an accomplice – injected code, they secretly add fields to the banking portal, asking for mobile phone numbers.



Step 4: The inside man

Outlaws need the critical combination key to the vault... So they then send an SMS to the phone number as if it came from the bank, telling their victim to install a 'security app'. This infected app intercepts SMS messages, including authorization codes from the bank.

Step 5: The Heist

No (virtual) guns blazing: outlaws have the username, password, and authentication code. They can now drain the bank account.

Step 6: The Getaway

There is no need for saddled horses waiting to whisk the gunslingers to safety. The mobile malware deletes itself without leaving a trace!

Protect yourself

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