Trojan virus steals banking info

The details of about 500,000 online bank accounts and credit and debit cards have been stolen by a virus described as “one of the most advanced pieces of crimeware ever created”.

The Sinowal trojan has been tracked by RSA, which helps to secure networks in Fortune 500 companies.

RSA said the trojan virus has infected computers all over the planet.

“The effect has been really global with over 2000 domains compromised,” said Sean Brady of RSA’s security division.

He told the BBC: “This is a serious incident on a very noticeable scale and we have seen an increase in the number of trojans and their variants, particularly in the States and Canada.”

The RSA’s Fraud Action Research Lab said it first detected the Windows Sinowal trojan in Feb 2006.

Since then, Mr Brady said, more than 270,000 banking accounts and 240,000 credit and debit cards have been compromised from financial institutions in countries including the US, UK, Australia and Poland.

Security companies recommend that PC owners keep anti-virus programs up to date and regularly scan their machine for malicious software.

The lab said no Russian accounts were hit by Sinowal.

“Drive-by downloads”

RSA described Sinowal as “one of the most serious threats to anyone with an internet connection” because it works behind the scenes using a common infection method known as “drive-by downloads”.”

Users can get infected without knowing if they visit a website that has been booby-trapped with the Sinowal malicious code.

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