Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wells Fargo Bank Offline - 48 hours and counting

Wells Fargo Bank, the nation's fifth largest bank with over 6000 locations, is now 48 hours into a total system collapse which started on Sunday, 19 August 2007. All transactions have stopped, dead cold. Deposits, withdrawals, online payments, ACH transfers, Fedwire, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is down.

They issued a press release yesterday, stating that they had experienced a "service disruption", an excuse that worked yesterday. Today, I want answers.

Where is my money? Is it safe? Can I access it?

I monitor the activities of online criminals, primarily Russians. In visiting their online forums, they're speculating what the problem is, but what they're really doing is gearing up for a massive phishing run unlike any other seen before. The criminals have now amassed databases of "fulls", a term they use to indicate they have the targets full personal information, all they need is access to the online banking.

Their increased sophistication is evident in the emails they're crafting for this scam.
Dear {firstname} {lastname},
Your primary email address for Wells Fargo Bank Online has been successfully changed.
Thank you for using Wells Fargo Bank Online Services

Save time and money by paying your bills online. Its safe, secure and easy to set up. For more information sign in to online banking center and click the 'Bill Pay' tab.


And that's it... this email combined with other tried and true techniques are sure to catch a few phish. Adding injury is that Wells Fargo customer service is already swamped with complaints, is going to be playing catch-up with millions of delayed transactions, and is sure to let transactions through and deal with the consequences later.

I will provide updates as this situation unfolds. The problem is already big, and its going to get a whole lot worse.

Joel Helgeson

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