The amount of money lost during 2011 in Latin America due to hacking and other online attacks has reached US$93mn, and of that total Brazil alone represents US$57mn, Jorge Mieres, malware analyst at the Latin American branch of Russian antivirus software developer Kaspersky Lab, told BNamericas.
Besides Brazil, the two other countries most affected by crimeware are Mexico and Argentina, he said. "The attacks are pretty similar to what's happening in Europe... they're mirrors of what's happening on the other side of the world. It's a very profitable business for IT criminals; malicious codes are the highest percentage of attacks to steal information to then carry out fraud."
More than 80% of malicious codes are developed to rob banking information, according to information from Kaspersky. Chile has trended high in this area in the last few months, while Brazil is in the top five worldwide in developing banking malware, with Trojans. "About 98% of that type of threat is aimed particularly at the Brazil user - it doesn't go beyond the border," said Mieres, who attributed the figure to Brazil lacking legislation regarding IT crimes.
And attacks are not limited to written information stored in a computer, he said. "Today there's increasing [attacks] with regards to privacy, social networks like Facebook where there's lots of rich information in these environments. So pictures can be an important source of information - with this data, criminals can commit other crimes that aren't necessarily IT related, such as cloning passports."
"There is so much information theft in social networks that a lot is coming up in supply and demand in the criminal world, with the specific development of malware to attack these platforms. So it will probably increase. We're working on some technologies that we'll implement in upcoming products, to specifically address this area," the analyst said.
Smartphones will increasingly be targeted by malware, especially those with Android operating systems, and Kaspersky has seen the beginning of multi-platform malicious codes - designed to attack Android as well as other platforms.
Directed attacks such as the case with hacktivism are also likely to increase, Mieres said.