Trojans that target image files as opposed to text files are the new wave in hacking.
Typically malware targets text files in the hope of gaining sensitive information, but this new brand uses .jpg, .jpeg and .dmp as its goal.
Pixelsteal-A Trojan has been detected in the last 24hours. The Trojan sends 20,000 files at a time and infects the system before targeting image files. It then sends a hidden command to copy all .jpg, .jpeg and .dmp files. These files are then sent to a remote FTP server. Once the information has been stolen, it would need to be manually replicated as extracting information from images would be near impossible.
This new trend in hacking reflects the way users are now storing sensitive information. Information theft routines are changing to keep up to speed with their victims. Images can be used for identity theft, blackmail and in some cases used to aid future attacks.
Threats are getting savvier and causing more damage than ever before. Malware that embeds in webcams and microphones are appearing more regularly. Collating visual and audio information to paint a picture of their victims surroundings, these types of hacks can be highly destructive. A recent threat on Android phones named PlaceRaider takes photos and videos every couple of seconds without the users knowledge. With the aid of other tools such as GPS the hacker can paint a 3D image of the devices environment.
Safer online practices are skills users need to adopt, for example not clicking unfamiliar links and being able to positively identify phishing schemes. The importance of having up to date software is more and more essential as threats advance.
Find out more about how to protect yourself here