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UTI Bank hooked in a phishing attack

14 February 2007

Fraudsters of cyberspace have reared its ugly head, the first of its kind this year, by launching a phishing attack on the website of Ahmedabad-based UTI Bank, a leading private bank promoted by India' s largest financial institution, Unit Trust of India (UTI).

A URL on Geocities that is almost a facsimile version of the UTI Bank's home page is reported to be circulating amongst email users. The web page not only asks for the account holder's information such as user and transaction login and passwords, it has also beguilingly put up disclaimer and security hazard statements. "

In case you have received any e-mail from an address appearing to be sent by UTIBANK, advising you of any changes made in your personal information, account details or information on your user id and password of your net banking facility, please do not respond. It is UTI Bank's policy not to seek or send such information through email. If you have already disclosed your password please change it immediately, " the warning says. The tricky link is available on http://br.geocities/
If any unsuspecting account holder enters his login id, password, transaction id and password in order to change his details as 'advised' by the bank, the same info is sent vide (the phisher's database).

After investigation, we found that Mailform is a service of PC Svet, which is a part of the Czech company PES Consulting. The Webmaster of the site is a person named Petr Stastny whose e-mail can be found on the web page.

Top officials at UTI Bank said that they have reported the case to the Economic Office Wing, Delhi Police. The bank has also engaged the services of Melbourne-based FraudWatch International, a leading anti-phishing company that offers phishing monitoring and take-down solutions. "We are now in the process of closing the site. Some of these initiatives take time, but customers have been kept in the loop about these initiatives, " said V K Ramani, President - IT, UTI Bank.

As per the findings of UTI Bank's security department, the phishers have sent more that 1,00,000 emails to account holders of UTI Bank as well as other banks. Though the company has kicked off damage control initiatives, none of the initiatives are cent percent foolproof. "

Now there is no way for banks to know if the person logging-in with accurate user information is a fraud," said Ramani. However, reliable sources within the bank and security agencies confirmed that the losses due to this particular attack were zilch.

The bank has sent alerts to all its customers informing about such malicious websites, besides beefing up their alert and fraud response system. "Engaging professional companies like FraudWatch help in reducing time to respond to attacks," said Sanjay Haswar, Assistant Vice President, Network and Security, UTI Bank

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