Bank Shuts Down Web Site After Phishing Attack

A phishing attack led the Bank of New Zealand to take its online banking web site offline Thursday to prevent scammers from draining customer accounts. The bank said that although there had been no threat to its Internet infrastructure, the site was shut for eight hours to protect customers who shared their banking logins with a spoof web site operated by a phishing crew. The BNZ web site came back online Thursday evening with "restricted functionality," and returned to full service on Friday, bank spokesman told the National Business Review.

Bank of New Zealand said it will continue to closely monitor Internet banking transactions, and has revised daily transaction limits for all customers. The bank also suspended Internet banking access for customers who enteered their details at the fake site.

The bank issued a security advisory describing the email and spoof site and asking customers to contact the bank if they responded to the bogus "bait" email. The bank also restated measures customers can take to protect themselves against phishing attacks.

One of the most effective defenses is the Netcraft Toolbar, which is currently available for both Internet Explorer and Firefox. The toolbar automatically blocks access to known phishing sites while displaying the longevity, hosting location and country for each site you visit. The toolbar can be freely downloaded, and customized versions of the toolbar can provide phishing targets with a powerful tool to protect their customers and networks from Internet phishing scams.