Switch, the computer emergency response team for Swiss universities, and Trend Micro, a computer security firm, issued reports on Tuesday about the hacking that is also aimed at bank clients in Austria, Japan and Sweden. The criminal activity involves sophisticated “malware” known as Retefe, which bypasses online banking systems that use a two-stage authentication process for customers to gain access to accounts. The two-stage system requires a password and a second password that is emailed or texted to mobile phones. The security experts found that hackers are sending emails to online bank users that show the letterheads of online retailers and have attachments. Clients opening the attachments download the malware which directs users to a fake site managed by criminals when they try to access a legitimate bank site. The fake sites asked the clients to enter their account details, password and personal identification number (PIN). The hackers also prompted users to download an Android mobile application supposedly providing security but actually allowing the criminals to access victims’ accounts. Money has been pilfered from accounts but the extent of the losses is not clear. The identity of the banks — 34 banking sites were implicated — was also not disclosed in the reports.
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