Phishing and Keylogging and Malware . . . OH MY!

New cyber-threats continue to grow as online criminals become more sophisticated in how they access consumer’s computers and confidential online information. Being aware of the techniques these criminal use can help protect you from becoming a victim to an attack. Here are some common computer crimes, or cybercrimes, that criminals use today.


Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or created to disrupt computer operations, get personal information, gain access to private computer systems or access online banking accounts. Malware is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software. This includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware and other malicious programs. Malware has caused the rise in use of protective software such as anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewalls. Each of these is commonly used by personal computers and corporate networks in order to help stop the unauthorized access by other computer users, as well as the automated spread of malicious software.


Keylogger, or keystroke logging, is the action of tracking or logging the keys struck on a keyboard. This is typically done in a covert manner so the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. Keyloggers can be either software or hardware based, and captures keyed information including emails, account numbers, website URLs, user IDs and passwords and more. There are protective measures available to protect computers from keyloggers, including anti-keylogger software, anti-spyware and antivirus programs.


A man-in-the-middle attack is a form of active eavesdropping in which the attacker makes independent connections with the victims, and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection. In reality, the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker. The attacker intercepts messages going between two victims and can modify the message with false information. Once an attacker has inserted himself as a man-in-the-middle, he can impersonate each victim and extract private and confidential information. Defenses against man-in-the-middle attacks include stronger mutual authentication such as secret keys or passwords and second (secure-channel) verification.


Man-in-the-browser, a form of Internet threat related to man-in-the-middle, is a proxy Trojan horse that infects a web browser by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in browser security to modify web pages, modify transaction content, or insert additional transactions, all in a completely covert fashion invisible to both the user and host web application. Defensive measures to protect consumers include online authentication security questions and one-time password methods through tokens.


Phishing is the most common online fraud. Consumers are randomly targeted by criminals sending out mass email usually containing an urgent message regarding account status, with instructions to click a link within the email directing them to a fraudulent website. Once the consumer clicks the link, he/she is directed to a spoofed website which looks similar to a website the user trusts. The user enters credentials into the spoofed website, and the attacker who owns the website can later use the credentials to log onto the real website on behalf of the user.

For more information regarding types of online fraud, visit our Woodforest Online Security Center on, including online security tips, what to do if you are a victim of online fraud, samples of fraudulent emails and more. REMEMBER: Woodforest National Bank will NEVER ask you to provide or verify account or login information by email, phone or text message. This includes account numbers, user IDs, passwords, and debit or credit card information.

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