The financial threat landscape experienced a game-changing pandemic year. In a new Kaspersky report – Financial Cyberthreats in 2020 – it was found that while the overall volume of threats via PCs or mobiles decreased during this period, Kaspersky experts noticed cybercriminals using new and advanced propagation techniques. The geography of attacks has become more diversified and extensive – especially from a mobile financial malware perspective.

Traditionally a lucrative avenue for malicious users, these developments, and the focus on mobile represents a change of tack. Mobile bankers have experienced particular impact by this, being a type of malware that is designed to steal users’ credentials, or even funds from users’ accounts.

Back in 2019, the 10 countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware included:

Countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware in 2019

In 2020, the situation changed entirely, however, and Kaspersky experts report that all targeted countries have switched places on this chart. Russia, a longtime leader in this category, moved down to seventh place in 2020. At the same time, Japan and Taiwan, absent from the list of affected countries in 2019, rose rapidly to occupy the top two spots.

Countries with the highest percentage of users that encountered Android banking malware in 2020

“In 2020, we observed a number of new countries becoming a hotbed for cyber-infections. The clearest example of this is Japan, which faced a wave of attacks from the Wroba.g banking Trojan. The bright side here is that most of these attacks can be prevented. Therefore, we urge users to take extra care when conducting mobile financial transactions,” says Victor Chebyshev, security expert at Kaspersky.