Hackers use data mining techniques


For banks especially, cybercrime is a big deal. Hackers prey on bank customers, who have proven to be easy pickings. All the criminals have to do is induce an unsuspecting customer to click on a link, and that's about all it takes. If money is successfully siphoned away from the account, banks have precious little time to recover funds. Often, they can only retrieve a portion of the stolen money.

And then, the bank has the pleasure of dealing with an irate customer. If the accountholder is a business, there is no requirement that the bank reimburse its customer, a situation that can easily lapse into litigation.

To make matters worse, USA Today notes that cyber criminals have been stepping up their sophistication, supplementing traditional email campaigns with text campaigns and---most ominously---starting to incorporate advanced data mining techniques.

"The elite spam gangs are making high use of tracking techniques, pioneered by the likes of Google and Facebook, to infuse more efficiency into their scam campaigns. Each time you type your phone number into a web form, such as your Facebook profile page or a web survey, that data gets compiled, stored and sold to marketers, including spammers.

"The best-and-brightest spammers are obtaining and using these lists of active numbers. Anyone can go online and buy lists of 100,000 numbers, broken down by carrier, for as little as $400."

One expert says that "one particular gang has begun sending messages to active numbers in certain area codes -- after first correlating smaller local banks to phone numbers."  The idea is to flood numbers owned by customers of the same bank in an effort to dupe them into providing information.

The problem for banks is that they are not necessarily in control of anti-fraud efforts, as they cannot be responsible for the lax defenses of their business customers. This is an urgent issue for banks. They need to figure out ways to either better protect customer or accounts or prod customers to do so. Education is a must. 

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