German Court Rules Phishing Victim at Fault


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It would appear that German courts have little rational tolerance for various sorts of internet idiocy as of late, recently ruling that Youtube is responsible for its users when they upload copyrighted songs - and now a German Federal court in the town of Karlsruhe has just ruled that a victim of a phishing scam is responsible - for being phished.

The latest case involves a retiree losing roughly $6,600 after giving up his bank information to a fake site that looked identical to the real site of his bank, which ended up illegally transferring the funds to Greece, who incidentally can use all the transfers it can get. Still, Germany's highest civil court has decided that the retiree was the one who was negligent, as Sparda Bank had offered its clients multiple warnings regarding phishing. And, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), logged 5,000 reports of phishing in 2010, a big jump from 2009.

Still, the retiree did sit down and take the time to enter 10 TAN codes (transaction numbers) into the fake site. Who does that? The elderly maybe - and it's clear Germans might, as the TAN codes are commonly used in that country to verify accuracy of online transactions. The codes can then be printed out, texted or looked up on a smartphone. Sparda Bank's defense also noted that being prompted to enter multiple TAN codes is a classic sign of phishing.

According to the Local, "The plaintiff argued that the bank had a duty to protect its customers from the abuse of these codes - But the federal court upheld previous judgements by the district and state courts, agreeing with the bank’s argument that the customer should bear responsibility for falling for the con." So, the retiree is out almost 7 grand, and Youtube might also soon be looking at a much more substantial loss.

In related news, it has been reported that the Syrian Electronic Army has been trying to gain access to rebel accounts using phishing tactics, though they likely shouldn't be too worried, as Anonymous has been monitoring the goings on of that situation.