Report: In 2013, more than one million U.S. computers were infected with banking trojans

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In 2013, the number of U.S. computers infected with banking trojans outpaced, by far, financial malware infections in other countries, a security firm found.

On Tuesday, Symantec released a whitepaper, called “The State of Financial Trojans: 2013,” (PDF) which revealed that more than one million computers in the U.S. were hit by the malware in the first three quarters of 2013.

Coming in second, and far behind the U.S. in its number of infections, was Japan, where 206,000 computers were compromised by banking trojans.

The U.K. and Canada followed next, accounting for 178,000 and 118,000 infections, respectively, last year.

The whitepaper also found that the most prevalent banking trojans this year were variants of Zeus, Zbot and Gameover, which compromised more than two million computers worldwide in 2013's first three quarters.

Candid Wueest, a researcher at Symantec, said in a Tuesday blog post that the firm analyzed more than 1,000 recent configuration files belonging to eight widely distributed online banking trojans “to get a better understanding of the mechanics behind financial trojans and the scale of their operations.”

Symantec's investigation revealed the protocol used and depth of the intrusion. “These configuration files define which URLs the trojan should attack and what attack strategy to use,” Wueest wrote. “Attacks vary from simple user redirection to complex web-injects, which can automatically conduct transactions in the background. The analyzed configuration files targeted 1,486 organizations in total. This highlights the wide distribution of the trojans, which target everything that could yield a monetary profit for the attacker.”

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