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Malware variant won’t compromise mobile biometrics, but it will neuter the code

Malware variant won’t compromise mobile biometrics, but it will neuter the code

Biometrics security on mobile devices is great unless it’s not turned on. Or if it gets turned off.

Researchers with a Dutch computer services firm have identified a variant of a known banking trojan that forces a device to switch from biometric authentication to PIN authentication. ThreatFabric says the malware can then unlock the device.

ThreatFabric says in a new report that the Android-specific Chameleon banking-focused trojan became a security problem in January. Chameleon is doing the most damage right now in Australia (where it specifically focuses on the nation’s tax office) and Poland.

It has been distributed on phishing pages doctored to look like legitimate apps. The new variant is distributed on the Zombinder platform on which criminals bind malware to Android apps.

The ability to sideline biometric security is new in the update. ThreatFabric’s report details how the hack works.

Biometric identifiers are untouched in this variant.

Nonetheless, the new Chameleon variant is not good news for the mobile biometric security market and raises the question, can biometric systems be created with their own defenses against being leapfrogged?

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