Hackers and crooks are scheming to crack Internet banking links and steal your money and personal data. So some banks are urging you to add an extra layer of protection, by using software with the somewhat tongue-twisting name Trusteer Rapport.
Bank of America began promoting Rapport to its 29 million online banking customers this week. But the bank has been quietly offering the software on its public Web site since February to anyone who wants it — free — whether they’re a bank customer or not.
Mickey Boodaei, chief executive of the Web security firm Trusteer, maker of Rapport, said the software focused on guarding your browser, which links you to your bank. The program was designed in response to the emergence of financial “malware” programs, which sneak onto your computer while you’re surfing the Web and then pilfer information sent through your browser. “Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated,” he said.
Here’s one example of the danger: When you type your user name and password, so-called key-logging malware records your keystrokes and sends them to an attacker, who can log into your account and transfer money. Rapport encrypts your keystrokes so they can’t be identified. It also verifies that you are connected to the bank’s actual Web site, and not a fraudulent copy.