Security products are usually protecting you silently in the background. Until they encounter something malicious, that is. But there is one exception. You may have seen a banner in the upper part of the screen when visiting sites dealing with money. That’s our Banking Protection kicking in. It’s available in both Internet Security and our brand new SAFE. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on when the banner appears.
One quite common form of malware is the banking Trojan. It sits in the computer and waits for the user to do her on-line banking. At this point it interferes with the traffic and manipulates payments. Much larger sums may go to an account other than the intended. The most sophisticated ones can even modify the account balance to hide the fact that a larger sum has been stolen. Most of these rely on some kind of communication with its own “mother ship”, and this is the point where Banking Protection strikes.
Every web site you open is checked and the products queries our Security Cloud to find out if it’s good, bad or ugly. This way the product also gets info about whether it is a banking site or not. If it is, then Banking Protection is activated. This means that all other connections to the web are monitored extra carefully and anything even remotely suspicious is blocked. In practice this means that we only allow connections that are known to be safe. This cuts off any Trojan’s communication to its server, and thus cripples most of them.
But wait a minute. How can the banking Trojan be active if our anti-malware is installed on the computer? Yes, that’s a good point. Banking Protection is actually your last line of defense. Any software that runs on your computer has passed through several levels of security. First the download source is examined, and known bad links are blocked. Then the actual executable is checked with several different techniques. Deep Guard will analyze the program when it runs. And then Banking Protection kicks in to protect you if all other layers have failed. So it’s not very likely that Banking Protection ever will stop a crime on your computer. But these banking Trojan cases can be very expensive so some extra security is never wrong.
And finally a word about the downsides. Nothing is perfect and Banking Protection has got some drawbacks too. I wrote that all network traffic, except connections known to be safe, are blocked. A side effect of this is that some of the mail traffic is stopped on my home computer. Sometimes I want to shoot away a mail to confirm that something has been paid. That mail will be stuck in my outbox until Banking Protection is disabled. So you need to be aware that there may be side effects like this. Just reach for the bar at the top of the screen and click End if you run into troubles. But finish your bank business before that.