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Filipinos can now avail of affordable financial products and services such as mobile banking, remittance, insurance, loans and credit as the use of technology and innovation continues to grow in the Philippines, according to Mynt, the financial Technology (FinTech) arm of Philippines telecom provider Globe Telecom.

“There is really a dire need for financial inclusion in the country since many Filipinos still do not have bank accounts as well as access to formal lending and credit,” said Albert Tinio, President of GCash, the micro-payment company of Mynt. “But due to FinTech innovations, even those in remote areas can take advantage of a wide range of financial services in the market today.”

According to Tinio, about 70 percent of Filipinos do not have bank accounts or any formal means to save money while 90 percent of Filipinos do not have a credit score, making it difficult for them to secure a loan. It also forces some individuals to turn to informal lenders which charge interest rates of as high as 20 percent. Moreover, 40 percent of cities and municipalities do not have physical banks, thus, residents have to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to get to the nearest bank.

Globe Telecom has allowed Mynt to address these concerns by building a financially inclusive ecosystem, said Tinio speaking at the recent 5th Regional Competitiveness Summit. Since telecom companies are in a unique position to penetrate even far-flung areas through mobile services, Mynt was able to leverage on the capability and infrastructure of Globe to offer FinTech to anyone, anytime and anywhere, he explained.

“GCash, for instance, already experienced hyper growth for the past 1.5 years through the use of technology and innovation,” Tinio said. “With GCash, customers can buy load, send and receive remittances, purchase goods and services, pay government fees or taxes online, among others. These have been part of our financial inclusion advocacy and eventually, we want to become a global payment solutions brand.”

Kaspersky Lab researchers have detected new malware designed to steal the credentials of online banking customers. Earlier versions of the new malware, called NukeBot, were known to the security industry as TinyNuke, but lacked the features necessary to launch attacks. The latest versions however, are fully operable, and contain code to target the users of specific banks.

Although the appearance of a malware family in the wild is not unusual, the fact that criminals have a ready-to-attack version of the Trojan, means that soon they may initiate a wide-scale malicious campaign, to infect multiple users, Kaspersky claims. As an early warning to its customers and other users, Kaspersky Lab has published a brief analysis of the malware.

NukeBot is a “banking Trojan”. Upon infection it “injects” malicious code into the webpage of an online banking service displayed in a victim’s browser and then steals user data, spoofs their credentials, and more. According to Kaspersky Lab researchers, there are already a number of compiled samples of this Trojan in the wild – shared on underground hacking forums. Most of these are rough, barely operational malware drafts; however, the company’s experts have managed to identify some that pose a real threat.

Around 5% of all samples found by Kaspersky Lab were NukeBot’s new ‘combat versions’, which have improved source codes and attacking capacities. Among other things these versions contain injections – specific pieces of code, which mimic parts of user interface of real online banking services. Based on the analysis of injections, Kaspersky Lab experts believe the main targets of the new version of NukeBot are users of several French and US banks.

In addition, Kaspersky Lab researchers managed to detect several NukeBot modifications that didn’t have web injection functionality, and were designed to steal mail client and browser passwords. This means that developers of new versions may aim to widen the functionality of this malware family.

“While criminals behind recent versions of this malware currently are not actively distributing NukeBot, this may, and likely will, change very soon. We’ve already seen this before with some other malware families: after a short testing period of a ready-to-attack malware, criminals start distributing it widely through infected websites, spam and phishing,” said Sergey Yunakovsky, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

“So far we have seen NukeBot versions which are ready to attack the customers of at least six banks located in France and the US, however this list of targets looks like only the beginning,” Sergey added. “The goal of our brief research is to warn the banking community and online banking customers about a potentially emerging threat. We urge interested parties to use the results of our research in order to protect themselves from this threat in advance.”

Published in Finance