Earlier this month, another attempted resurgence of the infamous GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker viruses, which have infected over 200,000 computers worldwide since April, reminded consumers not to let their guard down when it comes to safeguarding personal information online.
Criminals use viruses to gain access to personal data through phishing emails – emails dressed up to look as though they’ve been sent by a reputable bank or other trusted institution – taking control of computer files that have banking and financial information. If that fails, the virus encrypts all the files on a target’s computer and demands the user pay a specific fee to unlock the file. They can have a devastating effect on people’s finances and personal files and businesses – specifically banks. GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker are two of the most vicious threats to customer security seen to date.
Banks need to be ready to protect both themselves and their customers from attacks like these, as the response to each strain of malware only represents a temporary respite until fraudsters work around the measures by developing alternative strains that circumvent anti-virus detection.
One of the biggest challenges facing financial services organisations and banks is to ensure that customer engagement processes are as secure as possible without compromising freedom to move between contact channels, or ease of doing business. The modern consumer expects to be able to deal with problems they have quickly and effectively, whenever and wherever they are, without disrupting their day. Smart devices make this possible. While consumers love the convenience this provides, it also poses new security challenges as banks try to meet these new demands.
For instance, if a bank sends a customer account information over SMS, this may make life easier for the customer but it is very insecure. A virus such as GameOver Zeus thrives on such insecurities, and would be able to access this information with minimal difficulty. As a result, this type of activity puts the customer’s account and finances in danger.
However, we cannot solely blame banks for inefficient security; banking is a highly competitive market, especially since switching accounts cannot legally take longer than seven days. If banks do not provide these quick and simple solutions for customers and require long-winded processes in order to access their accounts or perform banking services, they could risk losing these customers to rivals who don’t create this hassle.
This is a pivotal moment in both customer service and customer protection, because when the next generation of GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker attack, everyone will need to be prepared. Making customers aware of the danger and how to protect themselves, in addition to enacting secure, common-sense security measures, may be the perfect balance to strike in the battle against fraud.