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Bank of Ireland customers have been hit by yet another phishing scam in the form of an email asking users to update their security details.

The fake security alert landed in inboxes on Friday evening, and may have fooled a number of customers into handing over their access codes and passwords, redirecting them to a website designed to collect the details. As of today the fraudulent site appears to have been disabled.

A spokesperson for the bank confirmed it had received several calls from customers about the scam, and that some PINs had been changed.

She described the perpetrators of the attacks as "smart", as it was launched on the Friday of a Bank Holiday weekend. However, the bank did have people available to deal with the issues that arose.

The bank's spokesperson said this was the third attack specifically targeted at its customers in the past 18 months. "They're constant at this stage," she said. "Everyone's experienced them now."

She pointed out that such scams, however, are not evidence of a breach in the bank's security, and that to date it was not aware of fraud being perpetrated on a Bank of Ireland customer as a result of phishing.

"It's a very big net," she explained. "They (the scammers) hope someone will hand over their details."

The bank has warned customers to be wary of such emails, pointing out that it would never request details from a customer in such a way. However, the spokesperson added that awareness of such scams in Ireland appeared to be quite good.

Next generation of spam

It appears that more troubling times are ahead for computer users, with a new generation of spam expected to hit inboxes soon.

Researchers are warning of "smarter spam", which mimics the type and tone of email found in a user's inbox. According to the latest reports, the spam zombies will scan inboxes, gather information and compose convincing replies to existing messages.

This new spam could be more successful at fooling spam filters and other security measures than current incarnations.

Recent developments have also seen spam that tries to gather information over the phone. An email warning users of problems with a bank account and offering a phone number to resolve it have been received by a San Francisco based security firm, Cloudmark.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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