both invade your computer after an Internet infection, search for your banking credentials, and monitor your online banking transactions to obtain your sign-on name and password. Then they submit a seemingly valid electronic funds transfer (EFT) that will empty your bank accounts, sending your money to a criminal bank account in another part of the world.
This discovery is three years after the Conficker worm first appeared.
On the surface, this looks like the world’s largest banks don’t make an effort to clean up their malware infections in a timely manner…but there may be another explanation.
The financial industry has done a fantastic job of electronically integrating their bank transfer transactions such as movement of funds between accounts in the same bank, between banks, and to and from Federal banks. Most electronic funds transfers (EFT) take place immediately and complete in a matter of seconds to hours, depending on the bank’s policies. However, there’s a dark side to this extremely efficient electronic environment…the majority of these transactions take place without any human interface; and there is so high a level of integration among the computers and networks of the thousands of banks across the world that computers and networks can and will be re-infected, sometimes more than once, until all the banks have cleaned the malware from their computers. This reminds me of the “whack-a-mole” game where the moles keep popping up over and over despite doing a good job of whacking them individually. It appears that this is what has caused Conficker and Zeus to be so prevalent in the banking industry; a mass re-infection.
There seems to be an almost impossible coordination effort required to eliminate malware in such an environment. However, the bright minds that designed the banking system will undoubtedly apply their resources to develop an equally clever method to quickly eliminate malware from the entire environment quickly enough to avoid re-infection. Here’s hoping someone out there in the banking world is listening…
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.