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German Postbank uses e-signatures to curb phishing

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German bank Postbank is going to introduce electronic signatures to all email correspondence with its customers in an attempt to curb phishing.

By clicking on the symbol in the email, customers can see whether the e-signature is valid. Last year, the bank introduced a new transaction number system (iTAN) to protect customers from online phishing attacks.

Postbank, one of the largest banks in Germany with 12m customers, suffered several phishing attacks in the past from what are believed to be internationally organised criminal groups. In addition, Trojans were installed that became active every time a Postbank customer established a network connection. This allowed the perpetrators to block the passing on of TAN numbers to the bank.

According to a survey by Germany's TNS Infratest, 80 per cent of online banking customers say they wouldn't recognise a phishing email.

In December 2004, German police arrested five suspects who successfully targeted Postbank account holders. Earlier this week another phishing gang was nabbed by the Federal Crime Investigation Office, Germany's answer to the FBI. Seven men, aged between 21 and 47, planned to transfer the proceeds of their phishing scams to Eastern European bank accounts. ®

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