Online customers of eight banks were yesterday warned to beware of a sophisticated scam being used to hack into their accounts.
Those who do their internet banking with Abbey, Barclays, Cahoot, HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest, Nationwide and the Woolwich are being targeted by malicious software that steals their access codes.
Russian criminals are attempting to divert funds from British accounts by infecting computers with Tofger-BG, a "trojan program" that secretly records users' keystrokes when they visit bank websites.
Confidential data is then sent to an internet site registered in Russia, allowing hackers to access accounts.
Inadequately protected computers can be infected with the "spyware" when users download infected files from the internet or via malicious e-mails. Computer security experts identified the banks being targeted by examining Tofger-BG's coding yesterday. It is not known whether any customers have lost money so far.
Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant at the computer security company Sophos, said: "This is very different from the fraudulent e-mails which many computer users receive trying to lure them to a bogus website.
"This trojan waits for the customer to visit real banking websites and then captures passwords and account information.
"Now online bank customers need to be aware it is possible for someone to steal money from them from the comfort of their armchair on the other side of the world."
So how on earth do you protect yourself from that, other than stopping using the Accounts. I don't suppose that I'm safe either even though I don't use any of the banks listed. This is getting farcical!
As with all the other 'threats' I doubt if anything will come of this. There have been MANY reports of similar trojans over the last 2 years and AFAIK there has not been mass plundering of accounts. In the unlikelty event that this was to happen, your account would be refunded by the bank in double quick time. As usual I will carry on regardless.
Like most things in life,it doesn't effect you until it happens to you.This week my email box as had a few 'hits' from the Nationwide and a couple of American Banks scams, but as I do not bank with these on-line companies, then I suppose I am not very concerned, at the moment.
One thing that I did find out recently, Barclays say that they do not send emails in response to enquiries,they most definately do. Or at least, they did in my case.