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Phishers haul in money from Nordic bank

Trojan hijacks log-in details

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Phishing gangs have managed to steal about €900,000 from accounts at Swedish bank Nordea since last autumn using a Trojan horse, according to Computer Sweden.

Swedish police say they are still receiving reports of losses to the scam.

At least 250 customers have been affected; the accounts of another 121 customers are under investigation. Nordea, the largest bank in Nordic countries, have confirmed the attacks, but didn’t inform the public until now.

Reports of phishing attacks against Nordea Sweden popped up as early as October 2005, but according to Computer Sweden the first successful attack took place in September 2006.

The Trojan is activated when customers enter their log-in details. An error message appears and the details are sent to the phishers in the US and Russia. In some cases large amounts of money were taken from the accounts. Nordea managed to cancel some of the transactions. The bank says it will compensate all victims of the attacks.

Phishing attacks continue to escalate both in numbers and sophistication according to Internet monitor Netcraft. There were at least 609,000 confirmed phishing sites last year. Several attacks saw phishers hack into bank web servers and use them in attacks. In March, a Chinese bank's web server hosted phishing sites targeting US banks. The phishing pages were placed in hidden directories on The China Construction Bank (CCB) Shanghai Branch. This attack was the first recorded instance where a bank's infrastructure was used to attack another institution.

A July attack on Citibank demonstrated a technique that was even able to defeat two-factor authentication tactics. The second authentication factor used by Citibank is provided by a security token which generates a one-time password that remains valid for approximately one minute.®

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