What is malware?

Malware is a collective name for all sorts of malicious and harmful software. Unrequested and undetected, it succeeds in installing itself on your computer.

Malware influences normal computer processes and steals information. In the latter case, we’re referring to spyware.

Fraudsters use malware to get money out of your account as well as to commit identity theft.

How does malware get on your computer?

Malware is often hidden in free software or shareware that you download from the internet (for example, a multimedia program or file, such as music or a video, or a peer-to-peer transfer system):

  • When visiting a website (not your bank’s), you get a pop-up that states that it has found a virus on your computer; You can install a free trial of a virus scanner or run an online scan of your computer;
  • You get an e-mail that appears to be from your bank with the request to install the attached update to plug a hole in their internet banking security;
  • You find a video on the internet. In order to play it, you have to install a special plug-in;
  • You get an e-mail with a really great offer. If you open the photos, your computer gets infected with malware;
  • You get a message from someone you know via social media that there are photos of this person on the internet, including a link to these photos. If you click the link, your computer gets infected with malware.
  • Naturally not every download contains malware, but it is definitely the case that malware is often downloaded along with files from the internet.


How does a criminal work?

Influencing the normal usage of your applications

Malware influences the normal usage of your applications on your computer. This can be done in various forms:

  • When visiting your bank’s website, you can, for example, be redirected to a fake website with you spotting it;
  • While using internet banking, you get a pop-up (a window that opens on the screen) which unexpectedly asks you to enter, repeat and/or digitally sign certain codes. This request often comes under the disguise of an additional security check or a special, urgent transaction.

Using spyware to steal information

While you surf the internet, spyware scans the files on your hard drive, installs other spyware, changes your internet homepage, etc. By scanning all of your actions, transactions and files, the spyware can read and send your confidential information to fraudsters. These fraudsters then use your information to send out spam e-mails, sell your information to third parties or carry out transactions (including payment transactions) in your name.

What does your bank do?

There is little the bank can do since the malware is installed on your personal computer. However, banks do work with professionals to detect malware and provide this information to antivirus software suppliers.

Your bank will also try, including through this site, to inform you as far as possible regarding the dangers of malware and give you tips to prevent malware installing itself on your computer.

In addition, the bank also informs you on how things should normally proceed when digitally signing your transactions or payments and will update you in a timely manner if this scenario should ever change.

What can you do?

Secure your computer

In order to bank or make payments via the internet securely, good computer security is essential:

  • Always check that the latest updates of your operating system have been installed on your computer. Your computer’s operating system can also be set to check for the latest updates automatically and install them immediately;
  • Check that you are using the latest version of your internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.); Be careful with beta and test versions, though: these are, by definition, not fully tested;
  • Ensure that the security level of your browser is set high enough. You can check this in your browser’s options, under “Security”;
  • If you are working wirelessly (via a Wi-Fi connection), ensure that the connection is secure (for example, by using a password);
  • If you are working on a local area network (multiple computers on the same internet connection), ensure that this is sufficiently secure;
  • Install all the necessary security software, such as antivirus programs, firewalls, spam filters and antimalware programs;
  • Scan your computer regularly with your security software.

Be alert

In addition to the proper security measures on your computer (up-to-date virus scanner), it is also important that you pay the necessary attention when using internet banking and particularly when digitally signing your transactions.

For example, it is important that you do the following, among others:

  • Only put a digital signature on a transaction that you are expecting or have requested yourself;
  • Use the correct digital signature for every task or transaction;
  • When in doubt, immediately cancel the transaction and contact your bank, especially when the scenario for digital signatures is not the same as the normal scenario. Every bank has a point of contact that you can contact with your questions about internet banking. The contact details can be found on your bank’s website;
  • Regularly check your account balances.

Also always be careful when using the internet and e-mail;

  • Only visit trusted websites and do not download any files or programs from unknown or suspicious websites; Always be careful when opening an unknown file or program or when clicking certain links;
  • If your antivirus or antispyware program detects a suspicious file, immediately delete said file and close the website that automatically downloaded that file;
  • Ignore spam and suspicious e-mails;
  • Do not plug your USB stick in to just any computer;
  • Do not save your internet banking login details on a public computer.