Feeds

Halifax suspends e-banking site after phishing attack

Self-actuated denial of service?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Halifax has taken its web site offline in response to the widespread circulation of fraudulent emails targeting its customers this weekend.

In a statement emailed out to customers on Saturday, Halifax said: "In the interests of the security of our customers we have temporarily closed the online service in order that we can communicate the issue to online customers and to make improvements in the service to further safeguard online accounts.

"Please note that we would never send you emails that ask for confidential or personal security information."

A Halifax spokesman confirmed that its online banking facilities were currently offline. Halifax expects to restore normal service later today (Monday, October 27), he added.

Other banks targeted by phishing scams have kept their sites online. So why has Halifax pulled its site? Taking the site offline means Halifax's 1.5 million online customers will have to fall back on the phone to manage their finances. It also takes out one avenue with which Halifax can warn users about the problem. What does Halifax hope to achieve?

A spokesman said: "We felt it was better to bring the site down and make changes and then bring everything back up in its together. We want to tackle the problem in its totality."

When the scam came to Halifax's attention on Saturday it tracked the problem back to a fraudulent replica of its site, hosted in Russia. We understand from Reg readers that this site loaded a copy of the legitimate Halifax website in a separate window as well as a form designed to dupe users into handing over sensitive account information.

Halifax is unaware of anyone who handed over sensitive account information, but the bank maintains it made sense to "temporarily close its facilities".

Halifax says it acted cautiously and in the best interests of users. We are unconvinced that its decision to take its facilities offline was justified.

Some Halifax customers have already written to us to criticise the suspension of online facilities.

Reg reader John Allsopp writes: "So, let me get this straight, because Jo Public User is generally stupid, it means that the rest of us can't bank via the Internet anymore? Maybe if credit card fraud gets any worse the Halifax will withdraw those as well?" ®

Related Stories

UK banks and police proffer anti-phishing advice
Email scammers target Halifax, Nationwide, Citibank
NatWest customers targeted in 'phishing' scam
Lloyds TSB phishing scam nipped in the bud
Email fraudsters target Barclays

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.