Comodo Alerts Bank Customers to Increased Identity Theft Risk
Readily available authentication tools protect banking customers
Jersey City, NJ, October 03, 2008 – Nervous banking customers on Main Street may already be receiving e-mails from their banks regarding recent merger activity. The problem is, such emails may not have been sent by their banks. Longtime customers of Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, and countless banks affected by the recent financial crisis have been nervously checking their emails for updates on the status of their accounts. Unfortunately, that exposes vulnerable consumers to phishing attacks.
Depositors may not be able to discern a counterfeit “phishing” message sent by scam artists, from one sent by a bank they trust. “Phishing” e-mails usually look like official bank emails. They demand that the recipient respond with sensitive information, such as account number, social security number and password. With that information, the thief can begin to steal money from the recipient, or use the recipient’s identity malevolently.
Phishers have long posed as banks in emails and on websites in order to acquire sensitive information. Now with major banks roiling, the susceptibility of internet users to bank phishing may never have been higher.
Comodo CA, a leading Certification Authority and Internet Security company offers the following advice to consumers particularly during this vulnerable period:
- Delete, without opening, any emails from unfamiliar financial institutions
- Even if they look authentic, suspect any emails that request you to respond with personal information
- Do not click on any links on such emails
“If the First United Bank of Bedford Falls acquires Pottersville Savings and Loan, you can bet that hackers will rush in with fake emails,” said Melih Abdulhayoglu, Comodo’s CEO and Chief Security Architect. “They did it before the financial crisis. Now with everyone on edge, they will hope to trap a few unwary people into revealing their information.”
After dangling the bait of the spurious emails, phishers lure the unwary to counterfeit websites. Many look exactly like the bank site, but on a bank site there are protections. Virtually all legitimate banking websites use SSL certificates from certification authorities such as Comodo, and are increasingly using EV SSL Certificates which display a highly conspicuous green address bar to signify the site’s authenticity. More information on EV SSL is available at evsslcertificate.com.
Consumers can also download a free site verification tool from Comodo called Verification Engine.
The Verification Engine confirms to computer users that the logo on a website “belongs” to the website, and has not been copied from a financial institution’s official website.
Simply by rolling their mouse over the logo on most financial institution’s homepages, Verification engine will display a green border around the edge of the user’s screen, indicating that the site is legitimately the company it claims to be.
All these signs, from both Comodo and its competitors, are meant to assure Internet users. In a time when the banking industry is in a volatile stage of upheaval, no one should see his or her own security compromised by exploitative fraudsters. The internet should be trustworthy, no matter what happens in the outside world.
The Comodo companies provide the infrastructure that is essential in enabling e-merchants, other Internet-connected companies, software companies, and individual consumers to interact and conduct business via the Internet safely and securely. The Comodo companies offer PKI SSL, Code Signing, Content Verification and Email Certificate; award winning PC Security software; Vulnerability Scanning services for PCI Compliance; secure e-mail and fax services.
Continual innovation, a core competence in PKI, and a commitment to reversing the growth of Internet-crime distinguish the Comodo companies as vital players in the Internet’s ongoing development. Comodo secures and authenticates online transactions and communications for over 200,000 business customers and 3,000,000 users of our desktop security products.
For additional information on Comodo – Creating Trust Online® visit Comodo.com
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