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'Man in the browser' is new threat to online banking

Traditional anti-malware software not likely to catch these threats quickly

November 27, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld UK - Criminals infecting PCs with malware that is only triggered when they access their bank accounts are the latest threat to online banking, according to security software supplier F-Secure.

Perpetrators act as a 'man in the browser' by intercepting HTML code in the Web browser. As bank security measures curb more traditional threats such as keystroke logging, phishing and pharming, F-Secure warned, the 'man in the browser' attack will increase.

Once a user's PC is infected, the malicious code is only triggered when the user visits an online bank. The 'man in the browser' attack then retrieves information, such as logins and passwords, entered on a legitimate bank site. This personal data is sent directly to an FTP site to be stored, where it is sold to the highest bidder.

Security products using behavioral analysis were the best solution against such attacks, because the malware was only distributed to the users of specific banking sites, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure. This meant anti-malware software vendors were unlikely to be able to quickly release code to tackle all the new threats.

Following the enhancements that banks have made to authentication on their sites, "phishing attacks are becoming less and less effective and attacks of the 'Man in the Browser' are set to increase," he warned.

This article is reprinted by permission from ComputerworldUK.com. Copyright (c) 2012 Computerworld UK. All rights reserved.
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