Dealing with paper bank statements and mailing payments is too much of a hassle for today’s tech-savvy consumers. These days everything is available with just a couple of clicks of the mouse, and banking is no exception. But be careful the next time you check your account online to check your latest purchases—cybercriminals are once again finding ways to take advantage of our dependence on handy online services.
According to a recent survey, online banking has become the most popular way to manage personal funds; one in four respondents chose the online method as the most convenient way to bank. Cybercrooks have taken note; another report states that banking trojans made up 61 percent of all malware in the first quarter of 2010.
There have been several cases over the last few months linked to banking trojans. For example, in January the email filtering company Red Condor discovered an email phishing scam featuring fake Microsoft Outlook alerts. Any recipients who clicked on the link unwittingly downloaded a trojan onto their PCs.
Botnets also continue to infect PCs with banking trojans at an alarming rate. In 2009, the Zeus Trojan, spread by the infamous Zbot Botnet, infected countless PCs in order to steal financial credentials and siphon money from commercial bank accounts. In February, it was discovered that Zbot is now spreading a new, more malicious malware, known as the Bugat Trojan.
There’s little doubt that banking trojans will continue to become more prevalent and sophisticated, so to protect your funds follow a few simple rules:
- When logging into your online account, always type the URL of your bank’s website directly into the address bar of your browser (you will never have to reconfirm your password when logging in so don’t give it away!)
- Avoid emails from your bank asking you to reconfirm you password and login info (this is a clear indication that the email is spam so hit the delete button right away!)
- Only login into your account from your PC. If you use another computer, you can easily forget to logout or the computer might be infected with malware
- Choose a strong password, using this helpful password generator