Financial malware tricks users with claims of free credit card fraud insurance

Tatanga malware asks victims to approve rogue transfers in order to activate free credit card insurance from their banks

A piece of financial malware called Tatanga attempts to trick online banking users into authorizing rogue money transfers from their accounts as part of the activation procedure for a free credit-card fraud insurance service purportedly provided by their banks, security researchers from Trusteer said Tuesday.Tatanga is an online banking Trojan horse that was first discovered in May 2011. It is able to inject rogue Web pages into browsing sessions and affects nine different browsers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari.The malware is known to use social engineering techniques against victims in order to bypass security measures enforced by banks, like one-time passwords (OTPs) or transaction authorization numbers (TANs).A new Tatanga configuration detected recently by Trusteer displays a rogue message inside the browser when the victim authenticates on their bank's website, claiming that their bank is offering free credit-card fraud insurance to all customers.The message claims that the new service is provided in partnership with Visa and MasterCard and covers losses that might result from fraudulent online transactions performed with the victim's credit or debit card. The malware grabs the user's real account balance, rounds it up, and presents the result as the allegedly insured sum.The rogue message includes a bank account number that's supposed to be the victim's new insurance account opened by the bank. However, in reality, this account belongs to a money mule -- an individual paid to receive money from fraudulent activity on behalf of cybercriminals -- said Ayelet Heyman, a security researcher at Trusteer, in a blog post Tuesday.The user is told that to activate the service they need to authorize a transaction from their bank account to their new insurance account. In order to do this, they need to input the transaction authorization code sent by their bank to their mobile phone number.This code allows the malware to finalize the rogue transfer in the background and send the victim's money to the money mule. "In all likelihood, the victim does not expect any funds will be transferred out of their account," Heyman said.The maximum sum that is transferred by the malware in a single transaction is €5,000 or about US$6,500. "We can assume that fraudsters have identified this amount (5,000 Euros) as the upper threshold that triggers the bank to address the transaction as high risk," Heyman said via email.The rogue message displayed by the Tatanga configuration analyzed by Trusteer is written in Spanish, which suggests that it targets users in Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries. The company hasn't seen a version of this attack in a different language yet, but the malware is known to have targeted users in other European countries and the U.S. in the past, Heyman said via email.The Trusteer researcher advises users to call their banks over the phone and check the validity of sudden announcements or requests that appear on banking websites. If an online banking website suddenly starts asking users for sensitive information like card security codes or PIN numbers, it's most likely because of a malware infection, he said via email.Users should also install the security software recommended or supplied by their financial institution and should use some type of browser-based security solution that prevents financial fraud, Heyman said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Lucian Constantin

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?