Posted by Virus Bulletin on Sep 21, 2011
Social engineering circumvents banking security
In a new method of stealing money from customer accounts, a variant of the SpyEye trojan invites the user to make a supposedly dummy transfer, thus socially engineering them into manually sending money to the attackers, security company Trusteer reports.
Most banks have secured their online banking systems by having transactions confirmed via a different channel, such as a confirmation code sent via a text message. This does not make it impossible to compromise the system (as smartphone versions of banking trojans show), but it does make it significantly harder for the attacker. However, the use of social engineering can make the latter invincible against such security checks.
Recently, we saw an example of a German banking trojan attempting to convince users to refund an erroneous transfer. Now a variant of SpyEye targets customers of a Spanish bank and invites them to take part in a 'training session'.
To do so, the malware modifies the content of the bank's website as viewed in the user's browser. When the user logs in, it displays a message about a new security system and invites the user to send some money to a dummy bank account, to learn how the system works. Of course, the account is real and owned by the attackers (or, more likely, by money mules working for them).
It is impossible for banking customers to be aware of every possible threat. Therefore, apart from running up-to-date security software, they should be alert to anything that looks remotely suspicious and in such cases contact their bank before proceeding.