Keystroke virus affects your online banking

March 3rd, 2009   |   By Media Genesis   |  

Since its conception about a decade ago, online banking has become a rapidly growing trend among internet users.  According to a MSN article, about 43 percent of all people who use the Internet or about 63 million Americans manage some portion of their funds online. But, along with the increased use of people banking online there has also been an increase in hackers trying to obtain sensitive information such as passwords and account numbers through phishing and keystroke logging.

While phishing can be prevented by not clicking on bank related links from emails, it is very difficult to tell if or when your computer was targeted by a keystroke logger virus. A keystroke logger is a tiny virus style software and is one of the biggest dangers when it comes to banking online.  This virus will record every keystroke you typed on your keyboard and will send it to a hacker’s server where it will be recorded as a plain text file. For example, when people are doing their online banking they will usually key in:

Bankname.com
Username
Tab key
Password
And enter key

All a hacker will need to do is decipher what is in between the domain name, tab key and enter key. If the hacker finds a match then most likely the online bank account will be stolen. This is because when people are banking online they will key in exactly the above information to login.

Below are some suggestions on how to protect yourself against keystroke logging:

  • Save your banking URL in the browser bookmark and launch it from there (recent versions of Internet Explorer and FireFox make it very difficult for the virus to steal any information)
  • Click with your mouse instead of the tab key or enter key. Unlike the tiny keystroke logger, it will need a huge amount of software to record your screen clicks with meaningful action.

If you use the above suggestions when banking online, your username and password will be mixed together with your daily typing and the keystroke logger will not be able to single them out.

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