With the arrival of two more highly publicized banking Trojans — Tatanarg and OddJob — it seems online banking is becoming more and more risky. What are the circumstances under which you would say online financial transactions are most secure (i.e., What technologies and policies should be in place?), and how would you recommend an enterprise implement them?
It is widely known in the information security community that online banking has become more risky, as online banking malware has become increasingly more sophisticated. Fortunately, those outside of the information security community are also beginning to understand this, due to damage perpetrated by Zeus and other Trojans. As a case in point, relatively new Trojans, such as OddJob Trojan and Tatanarg Trojan, have some additional functionality the Zeus Trojan doesn’t have. In particular, Tatanarg is capable of disabling other banking Trojans like Zeus, modifying HTML in the browser, and setting up remote access to a victim computer. The key in protecting against this Trojan is not allowing it to be installed on the computer in the first place.
We have covered technologies that could be used to protect online banking in previous questions, but, until a trusted operating system is released for mass consumer use, the most effective way to protect systems used for online financial transactions would be for enterprises to boot off of known good media to a secure operating system used only for online transactions.
Implementing administrative controls within the online financial portal for dual control or registration could also thwart many of the attacks on online financial transactions. The known good media could even be configured to boot up to a Web browser that opens to the online financial website. This may be an unreasonable solution for end users, so, in such cases, a client-side Web security tool that can be used to protect online financial transactions may be in order.
This was first published in August 2011