Up until now a quick look at your online balance and previous transactions would probably have been enough to alert you to possible hacker fraud.

But this may not be enough with the next generation of bank account hacking viruses.

According to the MSNBC Red Tape Chronicles (redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/06/9986119-new-virus-raids-your-bank-account-but-you-wont-notice), the Israeli security company ‘Trusteer’ has identified a new computer virus that empties its targets’ bank accounts, but then goes on to cover its tracks so that the fraud may not be detected for some time.

This then gives the scammers time to complete their work and distance themselves from the crime.

What this derivative of the ‘SpyEye Trojan’ programme does is, after it has taken the money, it removes those transactions from the view of the account holder when he visits the account from the infected computer. It actually keeps track of the fraudsters’ transactions and removes them from the list and then makes sure the totals add up properly.

So all the hapless account holder sees is a nice pristine bank account until the paper copy turns up or the bank manager gets on the phone when the money runs out.

This is something that Trusteer calls a ‘post transaction’ attack and the company believes that it has been used for several months now.

So, from now on, just checking transactions and balances may no longer cut the mustard for making timely discovery of online banking fraud.

This new computer virus has definitely upped the stakes in the constant war between the banks and the fraudsters.

So the message to the banking customers would be to make sure your antivirus software is up to date and don’t just trust what your computer says. Make sure you cross reference with your paper bank statements (if you still get them) and when extracting cash from the bank’s ATM make sure to check that the balance is what you expect it to be.

Also remember that, if it is not your computer that you use to transact banking business, you have even less of an idea of what nasties could be on it.

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