Bank of Israel Warns of Growing Cybercriminal Threat

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A USB memory stick with a skull icon.
A USB memory stick with a skull icon.Credit: ללא קרדיט

Israel’s banking regulator warned banks and their customers on Sunday to be more vigilant against cybercriminals following a rise in hacking attempts in recent months.

The Bank of Israel noted that while technological changes have allowed customers to access many banking services online, they also pose risks.

“In the last half year, we have seen an increase in attempts at fraud via phishing, aimed at banking system customers with the intent to steal funds from their accounts,” the central bank said, adding that the attacker initially tries to steal the customer’s login and other personal details aimed at transferring funds between accounts usually through a request sent by email or SMS. Using the information, the attacker then tries to transfer funds from the customer’s account to another account, from which the attacker can withdraw the funds and/or carry out transactions, it warned.

It said that in recent weeks there have been attempts to steal personal details of customers by impersonating PayPal, which is used to execute payments for internet purchases in Israel and worldwide.

“In these fraud attempts, the attackers succeeded in causing the banks a minimal amount of financial damage of several tens of thousands of shekels, and no damage was caused to customers,” the Bank of Israel said in a report.

Along with security actions taken by the banks on a regular basis, the central bank said it was proper to “notify banks’ customers of the recent fraud attempts and to clarify the recommendations regarding dealing with such fraud attempts, to increase customers’ awareness ... and to reduce the chances of such fraud succeeding.”

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