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E-banking increasingly targeted by cyber criminals: eighth report of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance

The spread of malicious software directed at e-banking applications and phishing attacks directed at Swiss Internet service providers continue to be a huge problem in the second half of 2008. Even the use of USB sticks as a means for possible attacks and dealing with waste data which is continually growing are topics of the eighth semi-annual report 2008 of the Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI). The report assesses the situation in the second half of 2008.

Current cyber attacks are mostly directed against users and take advantage in a targeted way of their ignorance in correctly dealing with information and data. This is shown clearly by the eighth semi-annual report of MELANI.

E-banking Trojans - spread via various channels
Also in the second half of 2008, there was an increase in the attempts to spread malicious software directed at e-banking, so as to acquire login information to the gain financial advantage. This occurred, on the one hand, via spam waves which took advantage of the carelessness of users and thereby spread e-banking Trojans in a targeted manner. On the other hand, the Trojans were spread by means of drive-by infections. This happens simply by surfing onto a website without user interaction, where the Trojan is downloaded to the computer in the background. Trojans are programs which are disguised as useful applications and secretly carry out harmful actions.

Phishing attacks against Swiss Internet services
Last year, various phishing attempts against Swiss Internet service providers were observed. By sending an e-mail with a bogus sender or link, the victim is lured to a bogus website where the victim's login data are obtained. These attacks were directed less against financial service providers and were targeted more against auction service providers advertising platforms.

Problem of USB sticks
The rapid spread of a virus which was spread from USB sticks to connected systems was the catalyst in the US for the army to enforce a ban on its personnel concerning the use of mobile storage devices such as USB sticks, CDs and DVDs. The US army thereby took drastic measures to clear the situation. Not only the armed forces but administrations and the private sector are increasingly concerned about the use of mobile storage media. In this respect it is important that the use of mobile storage devices is well regulated and that this is also technically implemented, if necessary. In addition to technical implementation, always making employees aware is part of this.

Dealing with the information society's waste data
Today storage media such as hard disks, USB sticks and memory cards are increasingly in use. What was expensive in the past is now relatively inexpensive and available with huge capacities. As a result, data is in part stored several times on various media. Carrying out regular data backups is sensible but the quantity of the data stored is continually increasing. To counter this, data which is no longer required should be deleted. Secure deletion is an important basis for protecting privacy. The MELANI semi-annual report provides practical tips and advice on this.

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Last updated on: 04.05.2009

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