Overall, a significant number of conventional malware samples were blocked, including modern remote-access Trojans (5.4%), malware used in phishing attacks (5.1%), ransomware (1.9%), and Trojan bankers (1.5%). These and other findings came from the “Threats for biometric data processing and storage systems” report, prepared by Kaspersky ICS CERT.
Biometric data is increasingly part of everyday life, augmenting and replacing traditional authentication methods, such as those based on logins and passwords. Biometry-based authentication is used to access government and commercial offices, industrial automation systems, corporate and personal laptops and mobile phones. However, like many other technologies that have lately been rapidly evolving, biometric authentication systems have proved to have significant generic drawbacks. The key shortcomings of biometric authentication technologies are usually cause by information security issues.
With that in mind, Kaspersky ICS CERT experts conducted research into cyberthreats that targeted computers used to collect, process and store biometric data with Kaspersky products are installed in the first nine months of 2019.
As it turned out, the products were triggered on 37% of such computers in the third quarter of 2019. An analysis of threat sources has shown that the internet is the main source of threats for biometric data processing systems – threats with this source were blocked on 14.4% of all biometric data processing systems. This category includes threats blocked on malicious and phishing websites, along with web-based email services.
Main sources of threats for biometric data processing and storage systems, Q3 2019
Removable media (8%) are most often used to distribute worms. After infecting a computer, worms commonly download spyware and remote access Trojans as well as ransomware.
Threats blocked in email clients were ranked third (6.1%) – in most cases these were typical phishing emails (fake messages on the delivery of goods and services, the payment of invoices, etc.) containing links to malicious websites or attached office documents with embedded malicious code.
“Our research shows that the existing situation with biometric data security is critical and needs to be brought to the attention of industry and government regulators, the community of information security experts, and the general public. Though we believe our customers are cautious, we need to emphasize that infection caused by the malware we detected and prevented could have negatively affected the integrity and confidentiality of biometric processing systems. This is particularly the case for databases where biometric data is stored, if those systems were not protected,” said Kirill Kruglov, senior security expert, Kaspersky ICS CERT.
In order to stay protected from the potential risks of cyberattacks, Kaspersky experts advise:
Find more about threat landscape for biometric data on Kaspersky ICS CERT.