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The real Hustle – The Keylogger scam

Posted by Awareness

The Key-logger scam

A few words about the scam: Living in an age of technology, the methods of con artists are becoming more and more sophisticated and complex; day by day. Modern businesses are experiencing a growing wave of high-tech cyber crime both from insiders and organized high-tech crime gangs. A popular cyber-crime is the use of key-loggers to secretly retrieve crucial/confidential information from the victim’s computer.

Fact: In April, 2005 a gang targeted a Japanese bank in London. Using their high tech skills, they planned to steal 220.000.000 pounds by infiltrating the bank dressed as cleaning staff and using computer information bugging devices (key-loggers) to get crucial/confidential information out of the bank and then make use of.

Definition: What is a key-logger? A key-logger is a device (physical device, hardware) or a computer program (software). The aim of this device/program is to log all keystrokes that are generated from a keyboard. The keystrokes are secretly logged without the PC user knowing that whatever he types can be viewed by someone else. Usually, the person who has installed the key-logger can retrieve the log by pressing a combination of keys simultaneously and/or by providing a secret password. In some cases, the key-logger is also able to transmit the log remotely using email, Bluetooth signals or other methods.

About the key-logger scam: A typical scenario of a key-logger scam is as follows: Members of the crime gang infiltrate a corporate building dressed as cleaning staff. They either swap the normal keyboards with ones that have a hardware key-logger embedded in them or, if possible, they install software key-loggers on as many computers as possible. When the employees of the corporation arrive at their office to work, everything appears to be normal. At this point, they would start working and provide all their login details on their computers without knowing that keyloggers are installed on their machines. Apart from crucial corporate information, the corporate employees could also become victims of theft. If the crime gang is targeting the bank accounts of the employees, then, using some social engineering methods, the hustlers can ‘rush’ the corporate employees into logging-in to their bank accounts; of course, this is all the scammers need in order to get hold of the confidential login information for the various bank accounts that the employees might posses.


What you should be aware of:

About the scenario discussed above, to be realistic, you –as an employee- cannot do much to prevent it from happening. It is the responsibility of the corporation to set up a security policy that would prevent such events from happening. In the scenario above, the weakest chain in the link was the human factor. The person who allows entrance to the building should always make sure that the persons who enter the building are indeed who they claim to be.

In other cases, when you sit down on any computer but your own, you should always take into consideration the possibility that this computer might have a key-logger installed. Try not to log-in into any important services from this PC. Try to act as if whatever you type on your keyboard, can be seen by anyone.

If for some reason you really need to log-in to an important area (whether it is a bank account, your email or something else) using this PC, please use the tricks we demonstrate in our tutorial on how to avoid key-loggers.

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