2014 Archives

Former bank websites put to 'sinister' use


The following is from the March 6, 2014, edition of BBC News and is based on research co-authored by Tyler Moore, assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering in SMU's Lyle School of Engineering.

March 10, 2014

Many websites once used by US banks have been taken over by spammers and virus writers, reveals research.

The websites have become available after the banks owning them were bought, went bust or did not renew their rental of the domain name.

The cyber-thieves are trading on the good reputation of the sites to spread spam or influence search results.

A small number have been seeded with malware to infect the computers of any people who visit.

Almost 3,200 US banks have shut up shop over the last decade, according to the research by Prof Tyler Moore from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Dr Richard Clayton from the University of Cambridge.

About one-third of the domains the banks used, 1,030 sites, have now passed into the hands of people who are abusing their formerly good reputation, found the research.

Many of the sites are hosting adverts in a bid to make use of the small number of people who visit the sites even though many of the banks that once used them have been closed for years.

Read the full story.

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