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Wells Fargo Computer Crashes, a Boon for Phishers

Following the large-scale computer crash at Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) in the fourth week of August 2007, online scammers have started taking advantage of it, resulting in a fresh problem for the company.

During August 20-21, 2007, the underground community of criminals engaged in a chat of how to exploit the problem of disruption in the service, as per Joel Helgeson, a computer security consultant working independently in Saint Paul, Minn. InfoWorld reported this on August 21, 2007.

The criminals have been suggesting reeling up their networks to make most of the problem, told Helgeson, who tracks all criminal forums to help him in his security job. Everybody out there is waiting for any bank to commit a big error and WFC has just committed one, Helgeson said.

A number of WFC's banking services, including online banking and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) services, collapsed on April 19, 2007 due to the outage and the impact on the users continued till August 21, 2007.

Wells Fargo did not explain elaborately the reasons of its system failure, however, it confirmed that it has set right a computer problem. The company said that it used its backup facilities to restore its online banking service in just one hour and 40 minutes. The company released this statement on August 21, 2007. It credited all the hard work put in resolving the problem to hundreds of members in its technology team. But the company warned that updated balances of the online customers would not be available on its Website until August 22, 2007.

A WFC phishing was anticipated, which had not emerged till August 21, 2007 afternoon. But after that, there were 43 Wells Fargo phishing sites as per the counting by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the organization that monitors online fraudsters, stated Dave Jevans, chairman of APWG. InfoWorld reported this on August 21, 2007.

Wells Fargo did not declare the number of computers and customers affected as a result of the glitch.

The outage further affected the bank's other services like point-of-sales (POS) transactions, wire transfers and loan processing, Wells Fargo said.

Related article: Wales Businesses Are Susceptible to E-Crime

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