South Africa banks hit by phishing scams

JOHANNESBURG -- Standard Bank last week reported that another phishing scam has hit South Africa, whereby its customers were sent an e-mail asking them to validate their e-mail addresses and account details by clicking on a link which led them to a spoofed site.

Earlier this year the major local banks, Nedbank, Absa, First National Bank (FNB) and Standard Bank, were hit by a major phishing scam, which led to great concern among IT security specialists, the banking business and the general public.

"The biggest threat in security today is identity theft, and the level of these threats is increasing, from simple username thefts to posing as banks and getting detailed confidential information, " said Roland Le Sueur, head of client devices at FNB.

"Do not give away any personal details, ever. Always go to trusted sites, and, in cases of phishing attacks, where you are clicking on links to the bank's home page, make sure the URL is in fact correct and look for the verification seal. Always check details, and, if you are suspicious or uncertain, call the bank for assistance," Le Sueur said.

Louis Lehmann, IT security director at Standard Bank, said "Security is a partnership with customers, and customers are realizing this." He noted that during the recent scam, thousands of customers called the bank to notify it of the possible threat, compared to the few hundred calls during the scams in May.

Lehmann saidt no money was lost during the recent attack. He noted that the 15-to-30-minute window from discovering the threat to blocking the site was too short for attackers to achieve anything.


Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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