Beware the new online banking scam
Filed under: Scams & Fraud
So what should online banking users be worried about?
Software company Trusteer has warned against the viruses which upload into your computer while you are surfing the net. Once they have broken into your computer they impersonate online banking pages.
The experts say they are particularly worrying because while other viruses have attempted to do this, most make mistakes. However, the latest breed of virus produce sites which are virtually identical to the official banking ones. The URL at the top of the page looks exactly the same as the official one, and the padlock symbol still shows it is a secure session.
Some of the viruses then trick users into putting in their password and other sensitive personal details so they can use them to carry out identity theft and set up more accounts and debts in your name.
Others are even more sophisticated. They lure users into changing details about their accounts. You may, for example, be asked for your mobile phone details which you have used to set up text message passcodes in order to verify online payments. They can then change the registered mobile phone and authorise payments to themselves.
The company says these developments are a natural response to the fact that the banks have stepped up their security measures. They introduce card readers, mobile phone passcodes and 'secure keys' so the fraudsters simply come up with new ways of getting round tougher security.
So how can you protect yourself?
Some of the usual techniques are redundant when it comes to this particular type of fraud. Usually you can tell you are under attack because the URL has changed, the site looks different, or it is no longer registered as a secure session. This is no longer true as the hackers now make the sites look highly convincing. It still pays to be aware of these things, but not to trust them entirely.
It's also important to be alert to anything out of the ordinary from your bank. This doesn't have to be typos, it can be asking for unusual security information or to verify things like your account details or personal information. If you are unsure at all, log off and contact your bank to describe what you have seen on screen to check whether it is genuine.
In addition to keeping your wits about you it's also vital to have an antivirus programme installed on your computer, and possibly a specific online banking software programme which is designed to catch out all these specific threats. Once you have installed the programmes you need to keep visiting the sites of the companies involved to make sure you have all the most recent updates. The hackers change the viruses all the time and this is the only way to make sure the software keeps up with the threats.