Security on the Internet - How to protect yourself from phishing attacks
The attacks are treacherous and always follow the same pattern. The potential victims receive an e-mail that appears to come from their bank and requests them to update their data. The bank's Internet address is conveniently provided as a link. But watch out! Those who aren't careful and click on this online address have already been tricked. The link opens a website deceptively similar to the bank's own.
Everything, including the typeface, colors and section titles, looks familiar. In the background, however, programs are set to spy on passwords and other strictly confidential data. Computer users leave "tracks" on the fake website. If they enter their passwords and secret access codes, they may well find that their bank accounts have been emptied.
Internet con artists - "phishers"
The method is known as "phishing" (password fishing) and is aimed at customers who bank online but take big risks because they are not well informed. The simplest rule is never open an e-mail that appears suspicious. Banks usually will not send e-mails to customers asking for their password-information and requests are sent in a letter or are discussed in person the next time the customer visits the bank.
Always enter the bank's online address yourself, as the link supplied in phishing e-mails leads to a fake site. Passwords, pin and tan numbers should never be saved on the computer. Using software such as virus scanners and firewalls to protect against Internet-based attacks is essential.
Your bank and the police can help
If you discover that transactions have been made from your online back account without your knowledge, only an immediate trip to the bank and local police can help.
Internet professionals are working as fast as they can to develop secure solutions. Postbank, for example, has become the first major bank to introduce an e-mail signature. One look is all customers need to tell if the e-mail is forged or not. Additional information is available at: www.postbank.de/email-signatur.