Computer Crime Research Center


Hackers play with banks

Date: March 19, 2006
By: C.E. Scott

An Internet scam that prompted three area banks to temporarily shut down their Web sites is a new scheme designed to get confidential data from unsuspecting customers, officials said Friday.

"The problem with this (scheme) is it creates a whole new dynamic" in the complicated world of Internet theft and fraud, said Bob Breeden, head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's computer-crimes division.

FDLE and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials were notified Tuesday after hackers obtained access to computers at ElectroNet Inc., a Tallahassee Internet service provider, and were able to redirect bank customers to counterfeit Web pages, Breeden said.

The banks involved - Capital City Bank, Wakulla Bank and Premier Bank - closed down their Web sites once the scheme was discovered. The sites were back up by Thursday afternoon.

The hackers gained access to the computer hosting the legitimate home pages of the three banks and routed customer inquiries to a bogus page.

Customers who clicked on the counterfeit page to get to their accounts were sent to another fake page that asked them to provide account information and other sensitive data.

Breeden said routing traffic from the home page to the bogus page is similar to giving someone directions about driving to a certain destination, then switching the street signs.

"You follow the signs, but you wind up at the wrong address," he said.

Officials declined to say how many customers were sent to bogus Web sites or how much money was taken from customer accounts.
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