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21 Jul 2005

Japanese bank accounts raided by spyware, Sophos reports

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Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have advised computer users to ensure their anti-virus products can also protect against spyware after the reported theft of 9.4 million yen from nine Japanese bank accounts.

According to media reports, a total of 9.4 million yen (approximately $84,000) has been illegally withdrawn from nine accounts at three different banks, because of a spyware infection.

Terunobu Maeda, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association and president and CEO of Mizuho Financial Group, said that the banks concerned were Mizuho Bank, eBank Corp and Japan Net Bank. According to Maeda the banks will assist the computer crime authorities in their investigations, but it will be up to each individual bank as to whether and how victims will be compensated.

"With so much spyware being written today which targets internet bank account customers it's essential that everyone ensures they have proper protection in place," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Every day we see more attempts to spy on innnocent users by organised criminal gangs focused on stealing money. Banks are especially anxious that users do not lose faith in using the internet to access their accounts because it is a cheaper and more flexible way for them to do business with their customers."

It is unclear from the reports precisely which spyware assisted the theft from the bank accounts, or how it operated, but many spyware Trojans and worms can monitor users as they enter online bank accounts and steal passwords and login information.

Protection from spyware is now an integral feature of Sophos's anti-virus applications and is detected in the same way as viruses, Trojans and worms. Sophos Anti-Virus is 100% Checkmark certified for spyware detection.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.