Thursday, April 3, 2014

Banks and fraud Hacking back

Bankers go undercover to catch bad guys

FIVE years ago MI5, Britain’s security service, sent a document to British firms, giving warning that Chinese spies could be seeking to “exploit vulnerabilities such as sexual relationships” among Western businesspeople. Moneymen are obvious targets for honey traps, but they can set them too—as they are increasingly doing to catch cyber-fraudsters.

A midsized American bank has taken a leaf out of Ian Fleming’s book with a project, known internally as “Honey Banker”, to smoke out fraudulent payments. It has created a coterie of non-existent bankers, with fake e-mail addresses and biographies, whose details appear on bogus web pages not linked to the rest of the bank’s website. If a transfer request comes in to one of these aliases, it is likely to be from a fraudster. The bank blocks the sender’s internet address, pending further investigation. (The Economist is withholding the bank’s name so as not to blow its cover.)