19/06/2014, London, UK
The global crackdown by firms on the infamous GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker viruses, which have infected over 200,000 computers worldwide since April, has only given people a temporary respite from the dangerous phishing attacks, says Guy Cooper, a security and fraud expert from Aspect Software.
“The viruses will absolutely come back, and come back stronger and harder,” says Guy. “The banks need to be ready to protect both themselves and their customers when the virus inevitably returns to do more damage, spurred on by the fraudsters who have works around the temporary measures in place by some blue chip companies.”
He commented: “We work daily with financial services organisations and banks to ensure that customer engagement processes are as secure as possible without compromising freedom to move between contact channels, or ease of doing business. GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker are two of the most vicious we’ve seen to date.
“These viruses gain access to personal data through phishing emails, taking control of computer files that have banking and financial information. If that fails, they encrypt all the files on a target’s computer and demand the user pays around £300 to unlock the file. They can have a devastating effect on people’s finances and personal files and businesses – specifically banks – need to ensure that customers’ personal details are safe and well protected,” he said.
Guy continued: “This is easier said than done though; one of the main difficulties facing financial services providers when it comes to security is the customer experience. The modern consumer expects to be able to deal with any problems they have quickly and effectively, without having to disrupt their day. But with most people now possessing a smart device, they expect to be able to do it whenever and wherever they are. While this is great for the customer, providers are having to try to provide these quick and simple solutions, which can sometimes mean security is put to one side in order to meet customer demands.”
He added: “ As these latest threats pose a threat to personal finances, it is important for banks to consider new ways of making their customer engagement safer. For instance, if a bank sends a customer their details through SMS; although this makes life simpler for the customer, it is also very insecure. A virus such as GameOver Zeus thrives off of such insecurities, and would be able to access this information with minimal difficulty, as a result putting the customers account and finances in danger.
“However we cannot just go around blaming the banks for the lack of security; banking is a highly competitive market especially since switching accounts cannot legally take longer than seven days. If banks do not provide these quick and simple solutions for customers and make customers go through long-winded processes in order to access their accounts or perform banking services, they could risk losing these customers to rivals who don’t create this hassle and offer the easy option,” said NAME.
Guy concluded: “This is a pivotal moment in both customer service and customer protection, because when GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker do come back everyone needs to be prepared. The priority needs to be on awareness, alerting people and banks to the threat of these viruses will go a long way in making customers aware of the dangers and how to protect themselves, and in helping develop the technology that perfectly combines ease of access with protection. However it may be a case of both customers and banks deciding what’s more important to them, which will not be an easy decision to make.”
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