Computer Crime Research Center


Banks and online security

Date: September 10, 2007

Banks can batten down their own computers but not the PC in your spare room.

It's a problem that hampers widespread consumer adoption of online banking just as more consumers are taking the plunge into broadband Internet access.

"Fort Knox is super-secure. But the road to and from Fort Knox isn't," said John Sharp, chief executive of Authentium Inc., a company shopping a fix to bankers.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Authentium has developed a Web browser like Explorer, Firefox or Safari. But it locks down the computer when a consumer is making a financial transaction, blocking attempts to log keystrokes that might yield a login or password to an online account.

"Banks are interested in getting people to do more of their transactions online but many are reluctant for fear of hackers," Sharp said.

It's true. A survey this year by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Javelin Strategy &Research shows that one-third of consumers view security as solely their bank's responsibility. But when that security is breached, 48 percent of consumers avoid online banking in the aftermath. Worse for the bank, 19 percent switch to a new financial institution.
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