Banking Trojans: The Stuff of Greek Mythology and Identity Theft

Malware, viruses and spam are all but household words in this age of technology, but one type of cyber-crime may be one that not many people have heard of: Trojan horses. Experts say that Trojan horses are the most commonly used form of cyber-crime today, and the most malicious of the Trojan horses are called banking Trojans, a type of malware used specifically to break into online bank accounts and transfer money to other accounts that are owned and controlled by criminals. What’s scary about this type of malware is that cyber-criminals can configure programs to make it appear that a victim’s bank account is completely normal online, can even make the log-out page look authentic so the account holder believes they logged out of their accounts properly, and can make it appear that an account holder incorrectly entered their username and/or password so they’ll be forced to enter it again, at which time the information is intercepted by the hackers and filed away to be used to gain access to the account at a later date. Because of this, account holders generally don’t realize their account has been hacked into until they receive their monthly bank statements, and by then their money is long gone. Generally, the stolen money is shuttled into overseas accounts. Banking Trojans can be installed onto a computer in several ways: they can install themselves, or a user can install them by unknowingly opening an email or attachment that appears to be from someone they know.

At this point, one of the easiest ways to avoid becoming a victim to Trojan horses is to not check bank account information on a Windows PC. As of now, cyber-criminals haven’t been able to install banking Trojans onto any Macintosh computers, although experts say that it’s only a matter of time before it will happen. But, since the majority of computer owners have Windows, another way to avoid banking Trojans is to avoid opening any suspicious emails, or suspicious files, even if they appear to have been sent by a friend.

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