Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Avira survey: Two thirds of people are afraid of data theft when online banking

Data scandal in Germany: because of the increasing online criminality, every fourth person avoids online banking

Tettnang, 11 November 2008 – “Never pass on your PIN!” This was a simple tip to protect your bank account. The danger of data theft has increased considerably since online banking was introduced. Data theft has grown and ranges from deceitful simulations of serious websites, emails or even links that lead innocent Internet users to fake websites. Eleven percent of Internet users do not make online transactions and 15 percent of the interviewees dislike online banking because of security concerns. Avira asked 8.606 visitors to www.free-av.com “Be honest, do you trust online banking?” The majority, 43 percent, use online banking as its fast and convenient. However, increasing Internet criminality makes them feel uneasy. Only one third of the interviewees said they have no worries at all.

Most customers use the PIN and One-Time-Code (OTC) system to access their online bank account. The fraudsters require the account data, PIN and at least an OTC to get extract money. The criminals have two different methods of getting the information by either using a program placed on the users PC or through phishing attacks. In the first variant, the hackers infiltrate unprotected PCs and place their program on it. According to the IT security experts at Avira there are Trojans that become active when the user activates the website of a bank. “The malware then collects the login data and sends it together with a trapped OTC to the hacker”, describes Rainer Witzgall, Executive Vice President at Avira. “Before the OTC is sent to the bank, the Internet connection is broken so that the TAN remains valid. The hacker can then access the user’s account – this variant is very time-consuming for the hacker.”

Phishing is a more frequent method used to spy on bank data: “The attackers steal bank customer’s data using fake websites that look nearly identical to the original bank site”, says Witzgall. “The simple trick of attracting users to the fake site is usually by email. The hacker’s methods are professional as you can’t see at first glance if it is a fake site. As a rule the website of a bank should never be accessed by clicking on a link but should always be entered manually on the keyboard.”

What’s the best way to protect yourself from the people who want to get the money from bank or online shopping customers? “Safe online banking is possible”, confirms Witzgall. Provided some important security measures are observed. The most important measure is for the user to have anti-virus software and a firewall on their PC.” It is also our recommendation to have anti spyware: “The differences between viruses, Trojans, backdoor programs and spyware are becoming smaller”, adds the IT security expert. “Although anti-virus programs detect dangerous and harmful code, the additional protection of an anti spyware tool provides more security when using the Internet.”

The Local Court of Wiesloch (Az4C57/08) recently decided that banks are liable when their customers become victims of phishing attacks. In the past they used to favor the banks. “The conviction shows the increasing professionalization of Internet criminals”, says Witzgall. “Not all online bank users are IT security experts and consequently the banks should educate their customers about the threats of online banking – the implementation of the required security software has to come from the end-user.” Avira have established an initiative for safe online banking to assist users. Together with banks and partners such as the German Security Net Association, Avira wants to provide awareness training and educate private users about the threats.

Avira provides free virus protection available from www.free-av.com. In addition to the basic protection the user can upgrade to Avira AntiVir Premium for $44.99 per year and benefit from WebGuard which checks web (http) based Internet traffic against infections, blocks phishing and malware URLs automatically. Therefore offering users greater security when online banking.

About Avira

Avira protects people in the connected world – enabling everyone to manage, secure, and improve their digital lives. The Avira umbrella covers a portfolio of security and performance applications for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. In addition, the reach of our protective technologies extends through OEM partnerships. Our security solutions consistently achieve best-in-class results in independent tests for detection, performance, and usability. Avira is a privately-owned company that employs 500 people. Its headquarters are near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany, and the company has additional offices in Romania, India, Singapore, China, Japan & the United States. A portion of Avira's sales support the Auerbach Foundation, which assists education, children, and families in need. For more information about Avira visit www.avira.com.