What if you woke up one day, logged into your private bank account and found out that nearly half a million dollars had been missing from your account balance? Or what if I told you that some guy in Russia knows the complete details of your bank credentials better than you know yours? What if I told you perhaps without your knowing, money from your account is slowly being siphoned into some other bank account under your own nose?
Well better be sure your bank credentials are secret but sometimes you can’t help being callous. And sometimes it isn’t your fault. Sometimes these guys who hide themselves from the world hack into servers and do all their stuffs making rich people poor. A closer peek at a Russian-speaking crime group that has lifted credentials for as many as 800,000 online banking accounts, shows more evidence of the growing sophistication of the cybercrime infrastructure.
What usually happens is that you browse some website and download some file (might be a simple mp3 or software). Sometimes these software come bundled with a third party software that infects your computer and start sending personal information about the user such as stored browser id’s and passwords by which they can access virtually everything personal of yours. They could maybe buy a car with your credit card!
According to a report from Proofpoint…
“With 500,000 infected clients stealing online banking account credentials for as many as 800,000 online banking accounts, this cybercrime group has the potential for tremendous profits. Previous takedowns of rings of money transfer “mules” employed by organized crime groups have shown that $25,000 per account is a realistic figure. If even a fraction of a percent of the 800,000 accounts that they have sniffed yields credentials that enable them to conduct illegal electronic funds transfers (EFT) or other transfers this cybercrime group has the potential to net millions of dollars from their operation.”
Allow us to explain you what happens. You see when you download any software, there’s a third party software often bundled along with it right? Like say you download FreeMP3Cutter and along with that some toolbar gets bundled along with it. This toolbar attaches itself to your internet browser and by the time you start surfing the internet, it keeps on recording and tracking your internet activities. Don’t worry, it isn’t bothered whether or not you browse illegal websites (the toolbar itself is doing illegal activities remember?) and so you won’t expect the FBI guys calling you next day.
Now suppose you log into your bank account website and log into your account. This toolbar then secretly notes down your login ID and password that you type down. This is why you’ll often see virtual keyboard in the screen and perhaps it is the safest way to log in.
Now if you type through a keyboard and then login, as soon as you get into your account and carry out a transaction, the complete details are noted down and sent to the hacker. This may include your credit card number and PIN number too. So the hacker will then have the luxury of carrying out any financial transactions of his choice without even your knowing prior to the purchase.
Now often the hackers don’t siphon out a huge amount of money from a single account, they siphon small amounts from millions of accounts all over the world which then sums up to huge amount. Now the security organizations are more concerned how this money is going to be used? A cyber-criminal could easily have contacts with terror organizations such as the Al Qaeda which may then carry out terror attacks through these fundings. So technically speaking, they could carry out terror attacks on people from those same people’s money!
So how do you avoid it? Well, first thing’s first, install an anti-virus guys, don’t cheap out on that. Sure you have millions of antivirus softwares that are free but often these free antivirus turn out to be malicious themselves. Also if you buy an original antivirus, the database keeps on getting updated and could defend you much better against a worm or a virus than these freebies. Come to think of it, they don’t cost too much either!
Next thing is whenever you download any software, make sure it is from a trusted source such as oldapps.com or their website itself. Also when you install any software, uncheck any option that might lead to installation of third party software such as browser toolbar. For example, I turned out to have installed this third party software called omega-search-plus. Initially it gave me no trouble at all! But then slowly my net connection became slow and all kinds of ads started popping up! This is what we call an e-bomb which could very well be disguised as an attack against your computer.
Guys, please share this with your friends and make them aware of the tip that never to store any kind of personal information in their computers such as FB accounts, Gmail accounts and more importantly credit card details! Spreading this piece of information will not only help you to be safe but most importantly, you’ll play a part in cutting out the fundings of these terror organizations!
PS: You could paste this URL in your browser to see the full report by Proofpoint: