Hackers have again punished British bank account holders with a new online sting – a wily little virus that’s stolen thousands of pounds. Time to be even more vigilant.
The notorious ‘Zeus’ virus has struck again, chucking at least £675,000 of our cash into hackers’ pockets. At one unnamed bank, 3,000 victims lost between £1,000 and £3,000 each. Ouch.
And it was all down to a ‘trojan horse’ virus that galloped onto victims’ computers through legitimate websites. And there it lay low until customers logged onto their online bank accounts.
Undetected by traditional security software, the sophisticated virus stole log-in data and transferred cash into dummy accounts. The pesky little virus then covered its tracks by sending customers fake bank statements.
Experts at M86 Security infiltrated the criminals’ Eastern European server and secretly informed the harassed bank two weeks ago – and has now decided to go public. Alas, experts at the security firm say the attacks are still rolling on.
How can I protect my online bank account?
All banks have different security settings and vary in their success at blocking fraudulent attacks. Worryingly, one in four people have been a victim of financial fraud according to previous Which? research, so there’s some words of advice you should take with you when you’re banking online:
- Access your account from home, not on public computers or unsecured networks.
- If you experience any problems logging on, telephone your bank – don’t email.
- Make sure there’s a padlock symbol in your browser before you enter your account details and always log out properly when you’ve finished.
- If you get ‘phishing’ emails, don’t click – report them to the UK Payments Administration.
- Notify your bank as soon as you notice suspicious transactions on your statements.
- When you’re picking passwords try to use a combination of numbers and letters. And with ‘memorable information’, avoid using easily obtainable information, such as your mother’s maiden name. Never store this information with your cards.
As hackers get even more sophisticated, our banks must up their game. But it’s also down to us to stay on our toes and make sure our hard earned cash is safe and snug in our accounts.