Banks in the US prepare for looming cyber-attack


Reports have been circulating since October that this particular cyber-attack was in the planning stages. On Thursday McAfee corroborated those reports and says the attack is planned for the spring.

"What we want to do is inform consumers, 'Hey, this attack is coming, just be aware,'" said McAfee vice president Gary Davis.

Santa Clara-based McAfee has been investigating for months and the computer security company says the evidence is clear, hackers are planning to attack your bank account. McAfee has so far detected hundreds of computers infected with sophisticated malware masterminded by someone in Russia.

"When you try and log into a certain financial institution that they're targeting, that's when the malware will activate and what it does is it clones your PC on a server in Russia and once they clone your PC, they try to log into the bank using your credentials," said Davis.

The plan involves funneling money out of banks accounts from some 30 banks, including Wells Fargo, CitiBank and Chase. The hope is that the financial industry's way of dealing with cyber thieves over the years will minimize any loss.

Axel Merk is president and chief investment officer of Merk Funds, a Palo Alto-based mutual funds management company.

"They are utility companies that deal with IT and so from that point of view, they have the resources to deal these sort of issues, but it's the cost of doing business," said Merk.

McAfee says the plan likely involves targeting people of high net worth, but all customers are advised to make sure their anti-virus software is working the way it's supposed to.

"Since the evidence suggests that there is a real potential for attack, we think the likelihood is high because why wouldn't you?" said Davis.

McAfee says it is working with law enforcement officials and several banks to prepare them for the potential attacks.

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