Bank fraud falls despite increased phishing attacks

Online banking fraud dropped in the fist six months of 2010, according to official figures.

Bank fraud falls despite increased phishing attacks

However, the UK Cards Association insists there is no room for complacency, with criminals increasingly using tools such as the Zeus Trojan to target bank accounts.

Although the amount stolen through online fraud fell for the first time since 2007 – down from £39 million to £24.9 million for the same period last year – attacks continue to surface.

There were, for example, 31,448 fake banking websites set up during the first half of the year, an increase of 21% compared to last year. Each website is used to target “hundreds of thousands or even millions of individual emails”, the UK Cards Association said.

There are still plenty of phishing attacks going on and criminals have realised it is harder to target the banks than consumers

“There are still plenty of phishing attacks going on and criminals have realised it is harder to target the banks than consumers,” a spokesperson for Financial Fraud Action UK told PC Pro.

“It is a volatile area and we’ve seen how active criminals are with the the Zeus Trojan arrests that were made recently.”

The volatility of the fraud figures, and the potential for a jump in fraud losses in the second half of the year, was highlighted by the fact that only some of the £6 million accredited to the recently-arrested Zeus suspects had been counted in the £24.9 million defrauded from banks in the first half of the year.

The cards authorities said the overall drop in fraud losses was caused by better consumer awareness about keeping anti-virus software and operating systems up to date and the banks’ use of improved fraud detection software.

Meanwhile, increased uptake of verification technologies, such as Verified by Visa, were given as reasons that “card not present” fraud, which includes internet sales, fell from £134 million in the first half of 2009 to £118.2 million in the first half of the year.

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