One Size Does Not Fit All: A Longitudinal Analysis of Brazilian Financial Malware Academic Article uri icon


  • Malware analysis is an essential task to understand infection campaigns, the behavior of malicious codes, and possible ways to mitigate threats. Malware analysis also allows better assessment of attackers capabilities, techniques, and processes. Although a substantial amount of previous work provided a comprehensive analysis of the international malware ecosystem, research on regionalized, country-, and population-specific malware campaigns have been scarce. Moving towards addressing this gap, we conducted a longitudinal (2012-2020) and comprehensive (encompassing an entire population of online banking users) study of MS Windows desktop malware that actually infected Brazilian banks users. We found that the Brazilian financial desktop malware has been evolving quickly: it started to make use of a variety of file formats instead of typical PE binaries, relied on native system resources, and abused obfuscation techniques to bypass detection mechanisms. Our study on the threats targeting a significant population on the ecosystem of the largest and most populous country in Latin America can provide invaluable insights that may be applied to other countries user populations, especially those in the developing world that might face cultural peculiarities similar to Brazils. With this evaluation, we expect to motivate the security community/industry to seriously consider a deeper level of customization during the development of next-generation anti-malware solutions, as well as to raise awareness towards regionalized and targeted Internet threats.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 10.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Botacin, M., Aghakhani, H., Ortolani, S., Kruegel, C., Vigna, G., Oliveira, D., De Geus, P. L., & Gregio, A.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Botacin, Marcus||Aghakhani, Hojjat||Ortolani, Stefano||Kruegel, Christopher||Vigna, Giovanni||Oliveira, Daniela||De Geus, Paulo Licio||Gregio, Andre

publication date

  • May 2021