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Banking's big dilemma: How to stop cyberheists via customer PCs

Ellen Messmer | June 18, 2010
In online banking and payments, customers' PCs have become the Achilles' heel of the financial industry

Other recent activity in the federal government sector includes a symposium organized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp last month on the threat of hijacked computers and cybercrime to business.

"The user workstation is the weak point," says Joe Stewart, director of malware analysis at SecureWorks, who has done extensive work looking at sophisticated botnet-based Trojans such as ZeuS and Clampi designed to hijack the victim's computer and execute unauthorized financial transactions by stealing online credentials and account information.

The basic architecture of online banking was designed without the idea that the user would encounter this type of malicious Trojan, he notes, adding, "In that sense, this paradigm of banking is broken."

Since the known banking Trojan malware is Windows-based "there are no Mac banking Trojans yet," Stewart says he views the situation today as largely one centering on Windows-based machines. "I wouldn't recommend banking online with Windows."


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