What could set the alarm bells ringing for the Indian banking system is the revelation that there has been a six-fold rise in phishing attacks on the country’s lenders during the last four months alone.
Phishing is a form of internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit card details, social security numbers, user IDs and passwords for financial gains.
The fraud is executed through spoof emails and fake websites that prompt users to disclose their personal details.
The 24X7 Security Response Lab of Pune-based internet security firm Symantec found that in October last year, there were 20 unique attacks on Indian banks while the figure has grown to 120 attacks as of January, 2008.
“The attacks are now becoming more localised, subtle and target-specific… The increase in the number of attacks reflects that they are getting successful,” said Prabhat Kumar, director, Security Response, Symantec.
From fame, the phishers are now turning towards making a fortune, he added.
The Symantec lab monitors the complete threat spectrum and malware activity all across the world. It provides support in 14 languages against phishers who are extensively using sophisticated methods to install spyware, Trojans, worms and viruses.
But, it is not actually a security breach for the bank.
“The banks have put in the best possible security but it is the unsuspecting user on whose back the phishers enter the system,” Singh said.
The latest Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec had ranked Mumbai as the most notorious in India in terms of phishing sites with 38 per cent, followed by New Delhi with 29 per cent.
Even Tier-II cities like Bhopal, Surat, Pune and Noida too had reports about phishing site activity.
“Surprisingly, a large number of home PC users do not even have a basic security feature,” Singh said.
The report highlighted that the malicious code in India included 57 per cent worms and 21 per cent virus attacks but even complex threads like Trojan made for about 20 per cent of the attacks.
Recently, leading private sector lender HDFC Bank had filed a police complaint against a “money mule” scammer. The accused had used a bank customer as a mule to transfer money, acquired through phishing attacks, to different accounts.
Even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had advised the public not to succumb to the temptation of fictitious offers of large funds through e-mails from unknown entities.
“Members of public should also not make any remittance towards participation in such schemes/offers from unknown entities,” it had said in a recent notification.
The RBI has issued the warning to caution individuals who initially receive tempting offers of large funds on various pretexts from unknown overseas entities through e-mails and letters and are later requested to remit a small amount as commission for transfer of the money.
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Courtesy : Business Standard