Money & Banking

Beware of cyber criminals exploiting Covid-19 situation, SBI tells customers via meme

K Ram Kumar Mumbai | Updated on May 22, 2020

The buzz around the recently launched web series ‘Paatal Lok (underworld in Hindu mythology) seems to have prompted State Bank of India (SBI) to create a meme on its Twitter handle cautioning customers that cyber criminals from this ‘Lok’ are using Cerberus Trojan (malicious software) to steal financial data.

India’s largest bank asked its customers to beware of fake SMSs claiming to provide big offers or information on the current Covid-19 pandemic via unknown links or downloading apps from unknown sources.

In Hindu mythology, Paatal lok is one of the three Loks (worlds). The other two are ‘Swarg lok’ (heaven) and ‘Dharti lok’ (earth). The bank used the analogy of the three worlds to tell its customers about the do’s and don’ts of digital banking.

The bank referred to Swarg lok as a world where customers are “always being vigilant against fraud”. Dharti lok is a world where “customers are aware of the Cerberus Trojan but still clicking on unknown links. And Paatal Lok is a world where “customers are clicking on unknown links and becoming victims of Cerberus Trojan.”

Cyber criminals exploiting pandemic

Recently, SBI alerted its staff that there is a global concern that the situation arising out of Covid-19 may be exploited by criminals, especially cyber criminals to indulge in fraudulent activities, money laundering, terrorism financing and other forms of financial crimes.

The bank underscored that fraudsters may try to open new accounts containing terms such as Covid, Corona, etc. This may be done either to resemble an existing genuine account for public benefit or with the intention of defrauding people through bogus fund-raising / diversion /misdirection of funds, etc.

Hence, staff should exercise extra due diligence while opening such accounts and KYC check must be performed thoroughly.

Further, the bank said the staff needs to be vigilant while dealing with entities such as those registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, non-profit organisations, charitable institutions and other accounts in which donations in the name of Covid-19 are being credited.

Published on May 22, 2020

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