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Identity theft manifests in new ways

Aug 25, 2013 Dave King

Mobile banking has a number of benefits. It gives consumers greater convenience when depositing checks, paying bills and checking statements, while allowing financial institutions to create closer relationships with their customers. However, what's not so great is the uptick in identity theft and cybercrime that comes along with the applications.

In fact, a recent study from security software provider McAfee found that hackers' modes of attacking consumers' digital pocketbooks are evolving. Perhaps the most prominent of the new methods is an SMS-stealing malware, which intercepts banking messages to ascertain login information, such as passwords and usernames, to directly access accounts.

"The mobile cybercrime landscape is becoming more defined as cybergangs determine which tactics are most effective and profitable," Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said in a statement. "As in other mature areas of cybercrime, the profit motive of hacking bank accounts has eclipsed the technical challenges of bypassing digital trust."

However, hackers have not limited themselves to upping the ante only when it comes to banking world. Fraudulent dating applications have proliferated, stealing users' identities by toying with their hearts, according to the report.

These not-so-romantic apps convince individuals to sign up for dating services that simply do not exist, McAfee explained. Then, when these members of the lonely hearts club try to contact a potential love interest through their profile, the scam is revealed to them.

In reaction to the increasing targeting of mobile devices by malware, some software developers are even creating do-it-yourself systems to help consumers fight off these cyberthreats. Wired explained that the technology is meant to act as an "intrusion detection system" by allowing users to monitor their devices' mobile traffic.