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Friday, 20 February 2009 03:39

Time for an online banking security revolution

With 2008 showing just how big the “underground economy” has become, and with numerous examples of banking Trojans and malware reaching new heights of nefariousness, 2009 is a do-or-die year for the banking industry – especially in the midst of the global financial crisis.

Here we are in 2009, buffeted by economic turmoil, under siege by organised online criminals, and seeing a mega “boom” in only one true sector: the underground economy.

Although today’s Internet security packages are better, faster and lower impact than ever, most still fail miserably when it comes to some very important topics: secure online authentication (especially when doing online banking), protection against unknown types of malware, and protection against rootkits.

So bad has the online crime problem become that criminals are enjoying what the rest of the world is not: a massive and lucrative boom, making the bust the rest of us are experiencing an even worse proposition.

Ever more sophisticated malware is being developed to specifically target consumers and businesses simply going about everyday online banking business, and the efficiency and success these criminals are enjoying is both impressive and truly bone-chilling.

And, just as modern Internet security programs use a range of capabilities to offer protection, so too are online criminals using the same approach to stay one step ahead, stay undetected, and “return from the dead” if removed, causing havoc for consumers and security professionals – with rootkits a problem that has steadily grown worse.

Long time readers of my articles know that there is a solution to these problems, one that has not only won awards but appears to be the only software on the planet that can provide complete protection against all known – and even all unknown – malware, virus, Trojan, rootkit and crimeware threats.

That solution is TrustDefender. It is not without competitors, which include Trusteer and Authentium, but both of these solutions are not without rather intractable problems.

Unlike TrustDefender, which works independently of any browser and is compatible with any browser you choose to use, and was built from the ground up to avoid legacy flaws in existing security solutions and approaches, Trusteer is not browser independent, and won’t work with Opera, Safari, or Google Chrome.

Trusteer offers no real-time integration into the bank’s security systems, no real-time rules or a policy engine, no way for a bank to know whether a customer is using Trusteer or not, no way for a bank to know, via Trusteer, whether a customer is infected – among a range of other problems that make Trusteer useless, both to consumers and to financial institutions.

Authentium forces users to use a custom browser, as opposed to their browser of choice, immediately bringing unnecessary complexity into an already overly complex world. It also suffers the same issues as Trusteer above, among others, which also transform Authentium into Authentibunkum.

Both are also based on other flawed technologies and legacy approaches that add to their uselessness.

TrustDefender’s approach was to develop a revolutionary transactional security solution, and compared with the rest of the industry, they’ve done just that – while bringing cost savings to financial institutions on top of a huge reduction in fraud.

The message is clear to financial institutions: the problems and online crime in 2008 are going to be dwarfed by the criminal activity 2009 will bring, and things are going to get much worse before there’s any glimmer of things getting the slightest bit better.

Existing security companies without proper transactional security protection either need to spend the millions of dollars required and the many man years of time needed to replicate what TrustDefender has already achieved, or some smart company will get a massive advantage over its competitors and snap up the TrustDefender solution.

In the meantime, consumers, businesses and financial institutions need not wait for their security companies to do anything. TrustDefender is available, at very low cost, right now

How you do your online banking is up to you, but personally, I don’t go online without it, and honestly, neither should you.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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