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NZ Banks could Change their IP Addresses to Prevent Phishing

Banks in New Zealand need to do just a bit to protect their clients from phishers' malicious attacks. All that they require is to make a slight modification to their IP addresses with only a nominal cost or none at all, according to Director of Operations, Thom Hooker, at Auckland-based SMX, a provider of anti-virus and anti-spam e-mail service. ComputerWorld.co.nz published this in news on December 10, 2007.

New Zealand banks are suffering increasing phishing attacks, said Hooker. This is because of the absence of the required level of security in the country. Also, there has been little progress in NZ banks maybe because they are not under Australian ownership, which means that less energy and thought goes into making the operations of those banks successful, Hooker said.

Another reason for the increase in phishing activity in NZ relates to the return of spammers from their holidays, leading to the sudden peak in volumes.

When banks are targeted with phishing attacks, their customers receive spoofed e-mails that link to fraudulent websites of the banks in attempts to trick them into divulging personal financial information.

Hooker, who has been keeping a watch on phishing incidents since a year, said there is an average of 26,000 active phishing scams each month globally. Phishers targeting a bank spend long hours on a website they plan to misuse and often employ automated software that downloads copies of all the pages of such sites.

Security experts worldwide have found that banks widely use the Sender Policy Framework protocol or the SPF tool to prevent phishing. Even ISPs widely use the tool to effectively stop phishing e-mails to get through.

Unfortunately, not a single New Zealand bank uses this protocol whereas large overseas organizations like eBay and Citibank do.

Stu Woollett, Head of business at Westpac, the second major bank of NZ, said he knows about SPF and the NZ banks have been discussing about the potential value of the tool. Westpac was definitely interested in the software but the idea was still in its developing stage, Woollett said. ComputerWorld.co.nz published this on December 10, 2007.

Related article: NZ Researcher Uncovers Hacking Techniques Against Vista

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