Google's Android security team identified and thwarted a steep increase of mobile banking Trojans in Russia.

Sebastian Porst, a senior software engineer at Google, talked about increasing mobile banking frauds in Russia during a Virus Bulletin conference held in the Czech Republic. Porst highlighted that the Android security team was successful in detecting and defeating rising fraud in the mobile banking sector in Q1 of this year.

Porst said that many smartphone users were under attack by Trojans and 86 percent of all mobile banking malware were concentrated in Russia.

Google deals with mobile security and safety based on potentially harmful apps (PHA), which the company detects on smartphones that run on the Android operating system. The Internet giant also runs manual and automated analyses of the app submission location, method of writing the app and who submitted those apps.

The security system of Android scans apps when they are installed and recommends users not to install apps if detected as a PHA. The security system also detects PHA's in a phone and makes recommendation regarding the removal of the app.

A Quartz report suggests that Russian Android device users are about 10 times more at risk of having a PHA installed on their mobile phone in comparison to the U.S. where the PHA detected on phones is just under 0.4 percent.

The Trojans consists of phishing malware, which monitors a user's banking apps as well as Google Play app in an attempt to steal financial information of the user. When account details and passwords are exposed to hackers then they conduct unauthorized transactions.

From March this year, Google started scanning Android phones for PHA in Russia every day. Previously, such security scans were done once a week. Google's initiative resulted in more alerts about PHA's to users who removed them swiftly.

"During 2014 the number of attacks by this Trojan grew steadily, but at the beginning of May 2015 the numbers decreased dramatically, almost to zero," said Roman Unuchek, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Labs.

Porst also highlighted that the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system has improved security features to reduce and combat the number of attacks on Android OS. 

Photo: Maria Elena | Flickr

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