Online banking virus fears

01 July 2004
Warnings have been released about a new computer virus that threatens online banking customers.

Computer experts say the bug secretly downloads itself onto the victim's PC from pop-up adverts and then important information is sent directly to a computer based in Estonia.

The virus notes the major keystrokes made and passes on a copy of what has been typing while banking, including passwords and personal information.

Computer security expert Tom Liston said: "I believe that this particular type of malware represents a huge threat to the online financial industry."

Web users are being advised to protect their systems by downloading a special Microsoft patch, installing a pop-up stopper or using a non-Microsoft browser to surf the net.

The virus, which is still in its early stages, was first reported last Friday to US warning system firm Internet Storm Centre.

Fortunately, only a few additional cases have been discovered since then, but users are still being urged to be on their guard and to upgrade their Explorer security settings to the highest setting.

The good news is that some experts believe the new virus is easier to contain than traditional viruses because the link to the website that collects the stolen information can be blocked.

Global director of information at Trend Micro Inc added: "Anything that requires a fixed address to do business is much easier to shut down."