New viruses 'mimic online banking pages'
Published 14 October 2011 by Lucy Bower
Online banking customers have been warned to stay safe, in light of a sophisticated new scam that mimics users' online banking pages and steals their personal details.
Software firm Trusteer is warning banking customers to be vigilant with their online bank accounts, following a recent bust of a sophisticated hacking scam in Spain. Trusteer says new online scams are heading for the UK, as reported by thisismoney.co.uk.
Around 25 million people use online banking in the UK, many of whom could be at risk of online fraud. Banks are responding with better technology to combat the online fraudsters. In fact, the total amount of cash stolen from bank accounts over the last 12 months fell by 32%.
However, a leading software tester that says even top-level security software like McAfee, Norton or Trusteer's own 'Rapport' - which is used by 7 million bank account holders - isn't always enough to protect customers from bank account fraud.
One virus to worry about is one that mimics your personal online banking pages. Once the virus enters your PC via the internet, it appears as your banking page, which may trick you into handing over personal information. This information can be used for identity theft online or offline.
Another more sophisticated scam involves hacking into a customer's account and making a 'change mobile number request'. A message is sent to the customer's mobile phone and they are tricked into entering a code into a fake banking page. Once the hacker has the code, they can make changes to that customer's bank account (such as withdrawing money) without the customer, or the bank, suspecting a thing.
There is some debate about the best way to protect customers from these scams - Trusteer claims 'none of its users has had fraud committed on their account while running the program'. However, Neil Kettle of Digit Security says the software is vulnerable to certain attacks.
Banks are developing new technology all the time to combat the threat posed by online fraud, but that alone can't stop it completely. If you are concerned about online fraud, read our guide to keeping safe online.
Also make sure you have a good antivirus program installed. Finally, remember to be careful - if anything seems suspicious, then you may want to check it with your account provider. Never respond to emails asking for your online banking details, and ideally try not to use your online banking on public networks such as libraries or internet cafés, where fraud is more likely.