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Automated online banking fraud: How could it affect you?

Online banking is one of the many ways in which the Internet makes our lives more convenient. This convenience though, has a price, as is evidenced by the creation of malware specifically targeting online bankers, called an automatic transfer system (ATS).

What is an ATS?

An automatic transfer system (ATS) is part of the malicious component files that make up ZeuS and SpyEye banking Trojans. Malicious component files allow cybercriminals to create fake pop-ups that appear and prompt users to key in personal information to access their accounts. With the creation of ATSs, cybercriminals no longer even require user intervention to access victims’ accounts, making them even more dangerous.

ATSs allow cybercriminals to automatically transfer funds from victims’ accounts to their own

What can an ATS do?

ATSs allow cybercriminals to take control of victims’ accounts with the simple act of hijacking open sessions (i.e., when users access their accounts). They can transfer money to their accounts without alerting their victims. To make sure they do not leave a trace, they often use mule accounts to receive transfers before again moving the money to their own accounts.

Clear and present danger

Making the illegal transfer of funds from victims’ to the bad guys’ accounts an automatic and invisible process, ATSs pose clear and present dangers. Victims will only be alerted to the fraud when it’s already too late. Even worse, because all of the transactions look legitimate, they will never see their money again.

How to protect yourself

As banks can only detect instances of fraud using ATSs via conducting back-end analysis, which most do not offer at present, users have to ensure their own safety. The key is to block infection before it can take place, by steering clear of malicious sites that can cause system infection. A security solution like Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Security, backed by web reputation technology to block access to malicious sites can help.

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