How can cyber crime hit your bank balance? An ex FBI agent reveals all

Iona Bain

Cyber-security experts, including a former FBI agent, have advised Scots to be ultra-cautious about unsolicited calls following the recent TalkTalk data breach, warning that phishing expeditions will be the fraudsters’ tactic of choice.

Customers of the telecoms giant have been reassured that their financial details were not compromised in the cyber- attack. But industry figures suggest the scammers could use other personal information to rip people off over the phone.

It comes as new research shows one in seven consumers have lost money to phone scams in the past year. The survey from CPR Call Blocking also found that one in eight fraud victims were cheated out of at least £1000.

Leo Taddeo, a former special agent in charge of the cyber division at FBI’s New York Office, told The Herald that crooks may ring up pretending to be TalkTalk representatives, aiming to direct you to websites that quietly download malware onto your computer.

This so-called trojan horse can then track your internet activity and pick up online banking passwords, passing them straight back to the criminal gangs. Mr Taddeo said: “Almost any type of malware can be injected by a website that has been purposely programmed to exploit a vulnerability in a web-accessed application.

“As consumers demand more functionality and features, unfortunately that has made applications more complex and harder to defend against malware.”

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