24 September, 2011
People steal and mostly they want your hard earned cash. A few years back our biggest concern was having our wallet stolen – they got cash and credit cards. Normally the cash was a limited amount and if we reported the credit card as missing soon enough the bank would cancel it and again limit how much we lost. Now this is only small time crime and has become vastly overshadowed by Internet banking fraud. So what do they stand to gain from Internet banking fraud? Well in many cases – whatever we have sitting in our bank account.
Internet banking fraud occurs when a third party gains access to either our credit card details or our bank account login details. So how do they do this? More often now credit cards and Internet shopping has opened up a whole window of opportunity for us to purchase certain brands, models, accessories or items that are not normally available in our own locality. Alternatively it has also changed the way we shop around for a good price or a ‘bargain’. Some of the Internet sites that we purchase from may even give us the option of a standing order – on a monthly or yearly basis for example. These sites then often store our credit card information to bill us each month, which saves us the time to have to complete a new transaction each time. So what do you think the results are if a hacker is able to get into this target rich database and make a copy of these details?
Apart from an online site storing our credit card details for recurring transactions there is also the possibility of a third party spying on even a single transaction (sometimes even from software discretely down loaded onto our own PC’s). There are many unsecured sites on the Internet that you may visit where this ‘spyware’ is waiting to download to your PC automatically without you knowing. This software then tracks your progress around the Internet and records your keystrokes when you do an online purchase, thereafter sending this information to the original creator. The same software can even monitor our login to an Internet banking site and send those details off so that a third party can logon to our banking site as if they were us and transfer money offshore. What else can happen?
Then there are the emails from scammers ‘phishing emails’ that pretend to represent our bank or financial institution (they may even have a nice official looking bank logo) and they ask us to click in a box and confirm our logon details as the bank is doing some sort of computer or software upgrade. These emails are well written and are getting more convincing each year, plus they only need a very small percentage of recipient’s to respond, for them to become a very lucrative source of income to their creators. Talking of the creators – they can now be sitting in a third world country behind a computer and behind their countries’ foreign policy which may totally shield them from any legal retribution.
Next week we will talk about strategies & computer setups to avoid, stop or at least minimise your exposure to this kind of risk. Kerr Solutions is at 128 Musgrave Street & is contactable on 49 222 400.