HSBC accuses rivals over security race

20 September 2006

High street bank HSBC has accused rival companies of creating an 'arms race' for security services and authentication systems.

According to the banking giant, hi-tech improvements to bank's security systems can leave other companies vulnerable to attacks, ZDNet reports.

HSBC group head of fraud technology, Brendan Pickering, told delegates at the Gartner IT Security Summit 2006 that measures such as two-factor authentication mean that financial services companies with less stringent checks in place are now automatically targeted by web criminals.

Mr Pickering issued a warning about a new kind of phishing scam, dubbed 'man in the middle' attacks. The scam places a phishing site between a web user and the legitimate online banking system and steals customers' details when they attempt to log onto the bank's system.

Discussing remote banking security, the HSBC executive suggested that two-factor authentication systems are unlikely to stop fraud, but rather "buy some time" for the companies that implement them and generate large sums of money for software vendors.

A new report from analyst Forrester Research claims that the UK's largest banks and building societies are failing to provide adequate content and functionality for consumers to research and apply for credit cards online.

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