IT specialists Identrica and Prime Business Solutions have developed a solution to âPhishingâ, an online identity theft scam that is proving a real headache for banks and financial institutions. âPhishingâ fraudsters send e-mails to customers, registered for online banking services, which purport to be from the bank itself. Customers are directed to spoof websites, where they are invited to âlog onâ, thereby revealing their online security codes and bank account details. The problem of identity theft is so serious that some banks have had to suspend direct payment or standing order facilities from their online services.
Identrica Managing Director, John Brand said:
"Our innovative authentication system denies access to an internet banking website, unless a call is received from the customerâs mobile phone. It is therefore of less concern that user names and passwords have been compromised, because the fraudster needs to have access to an individualâs phone â a patent impossibility. Prime Business Solutions will wrap this technology into their own IT infrastructure offering to blue chip banking and retailing clients throughout Europe."
This approach is based around an individualâs unique 11-digit mobile phone number, which Identrica turns into a âsocial tokenâ. This means that as part of the logging-on procedure for a bank website, for example, the user is asked to make a call from their mobile phone to a secure Identrica number. The call is not answered (therefore it does not cost anything) and the user merely hangs up when they hear the ring tone. They then enter their unique PIN number into the logging-on screen and proceed to use the online service as normal. This is called 2-factor authentication, because the user must offer their PIN and be in possession of their own mobile phone, before accessing the banking or e-tailing system.
Identricaâs technology is significantly cheaper and equally effective as existing solutions, making it commercially viable for high-volume applications such as Internet banking. The same technology can be used to bolster the security of almost any password-protected network or application.
Chris Gabriel, Security Business Director at Prime said:
"The mobile phone is now pretty well ubiquitous and it uniquely identifies us through our 11-digit phone number. In marrying banksâ and retailersâ security systems with a simple, no-cost call from a mobile phone, 2-factor authentication becomes a commercial reality, throwing aside the cost, complexity and confusion of existing hardware based solutions. The technology is also readily installed and incorporated into existing online security systems.
"Prime is very pleased to be partnering with Identrica to take this technology to the UK market and vastly improve the security of critical commercial applications. The finance and banking community are eager to increase consumer confidence in online banking and the simplicity and cost effectiveness of Identrica coupled with the publicâs demand for increased security is encouraging"
Both companies are already in discussion with a number of international banking clients.