Prevent Bank Account Hacking–December 2009

Executive Summary – Thefts of funds from bank accounts using online banking is on the rise. One cause is the infecting of computers with viruses and Trojans through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The popularity of these types of sites has opened up people to all sorts of viruses that they would previously not be exposed to. People years ago learned to not open files sent in emails unless they were really sure who the sender was and what was in the file. Additionally the large free email services began screening for viruses on uploaded files and incoming files, which really cut down the simplicity of sending out viruses in mass. Banks generally indemnify clients for online banking losses due to hacking but it can still be problematic filing a claim and getting reimbursed.

The Targets – Generally the hackers go after business accounts that have reasonable amounts of money and a lot of activity. The point is to send an interesting and specific enough email to the recipient to get him to open the email (subject header) and then to get the person to click on a link. The clicking will install a virus or Trojan in their computer. They will then capture screenshots, install a keystroke logger, get passwords from unsecured password files or other vital data. Another way it is done is by installing software from evil websites designed to install such software.

Protective Measures Against Bank Account Hacking –

All this spam you get is sent from bot networks which are the result of windows vulnerabilities allowing the spammers to easily install malware in people computers and take them over in the background and send spam, do DDOS attacks etc. Thank you windows. My guess is over 95% of the hacking is done on windows computers. You can buy a windows computer, reformat the hard drive and install Linux which works like a Mac, very easy, free or cheap, uses less memory and resources, more stable, way more hack resistant (not even a comparison) and overall provides a more pleasurable experience. Just have your local computer store do the installation for you.

Most of the same programs you use will have a Linux version or there will be an equivalent and probably available for free like the Sun Office Systems freeware to replace Excel, Word etc. Macs are every bit as good as Linux just cost more. Their hardware seems to be the best quality out there for mainstream computers. Linux and Mac are related closely. Easiest is go buy a Mac. Cheapest answer and also a good one is to reformat a windows computer and run Linux. Do run ant-virus programs and firewalls anyway even if it is a Mac or Linux.

Summary – The hackers used to focus on stealing credit cards now they go after bank accounts. Credit Card fraud is still massive but bank account fraud is more lucrative. Some people are more careful about their credit cards that they are with a bank account containing millions of dollars in it. There are tricks that the banks could adapt but they a re not so smart. One such trick is to only let one specific ip address log into the bank account. Then the hacker has to take over your computer and use your ip address to log in and this increases the magnitude of their task greatly.

You could get a situation with the bank where only the balance and history can be checked online. Wire requests would be sent in by fax. The hackers do not get into faxes BUT do not use Internet fax services. Use a real fax machine, then shred the fax since it has a password and account information on it and flush the shredded paper down toilet or burn it in an ashtray just to make sure. Good safe banking.

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