Banking apps on Google Play in more danger than ever before

Russell Kidson


Now is not the time to be complacent where your financial security is concerned. We’ve seen banking apps targeted by malware before, but the recent uptick in trojans specifically designed to rob you blind is unprecedented. Google now faces a massive threat just as it launches Android 13

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Banking apps have been collectively downloaded far in excess of a billion times globally. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as most modern banking solutions practically require you to have their app installed on your mobile device to ensure that your money remains safe. This seems like a bit of a catch-22 situation, however, when the very app that is supposed to create a near-impenetrable verification protocol protecting your banking ecosystem is the target of highly advanced and ruthless malware. 

Banking apps on Google Play in more danger than ever before

Zimperium, a mobile security platform, recently released a report in which it analyzed in excess of 600 mobile financial apps as well as the ten most prolific trojan families specifically designed to wreak havoc on mobile banking utilities. According to Zimperium’s report, the most heavily-targeted banking app is the Spanish banking utility BBVA Spain | Online Banking. This app alone has over 10 million downloads.

What’s even more shocking and should probably cause you to reevaluate how you interact with your finances is that 6 of the top 10 most prolific banking app trojans actively target this app. Let’s just put that into perspective; BBVA Spain is currently being targeted by 60% of the worst, most virulent, ruthless, and damaging banking app trojans on the face of the earth. 

Vice President of Security Research at Zimperium, Nico Chiaravigilio has even more concerning news, however. ‘Not every trojan targeting mobile and banking apps are created equal – they’re disseminated differently, use different exploitation techniques, and vary in other degrees of reach and sophistication. We’ve seen ad hoc reports of different banking trojans over the past few years, and anecdotally, people may have recognized that they’re increasing in scope and frequency.’ 

Banking apps on the Google Play Store no longer seem to be safe. Google Play has had its fair share of malware scares, but this latest revelation is bound to hit the app management utility hard. Even worse is that banking apps aren’t the only target. New trojans are attacking apps used to interact with cryptocurrency and other investments as well. 

There has never been a better time to invest in proper security for your mobile device. If not, you could fall prey to other Android malware, such as the SMSFactory trojan that secretly runs up your phone bill.

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