Feelings can be misleading

Online banking and security still seem to have only the most tenuous relation to each other. Even though more and more German banks are moving towards implementing HBCI, an independent protocol for online banking, (entering a PIN number via an external card-reader, which may have its own display) the investment needed (between 70 and 170 euros) is frightening a lot of customers off.

It seems that some of the British banks have been thinking about this, and drawing their own conclusions. A recently published article covers a major British bank’s refusal to implement two factor authentication: apparently the increased popularity of online banking shows that ‘customers already feel safe on the Internet’, without the need for extra hardware. But if the bank has the feeling that customers are blissfully happy, perhaps they should dig a little deeper.

Banks which don’t implement appropriate security may find themselves dealing with satisifed customers like the German woman who recently came to us for help. Her antivirus solution (not ours, I should hasten to add!) malfunctioned. The consequence – a Trojan got away with a smooth 5000 euros from her account. The local prosecution service suspended the investigation, because the attack could only be traced back to a computer located at a university. The bank, meanwhile, has spent more than a month trying to push the blame back onto the customer. The happy customer, who thought that the combination of antivirus software and PIN/ TAN would keep her assets safe…

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