ASB makes online customers a security offer

Free CA products available to users

The ASB Bank is offering 5,000 of its customers free firewall, antivirus and anti-spyware programs from CA in its latest move against internet banking fraud.

The New Zealand Bankers’ Association last year put a provision in its code of practice to allow banks to customers liable for fraud if they did not have adequate security on the PC used for online banking.

However, after a media storm, no banks implemented the provision fully and the code is now being redrafted. Westpac, in particular, made a marketing point of the fact that that it would take responsibility for online banking losses.

ASB’s position on the liability question in the past has been equivocal, with former spokesman Clayton Wakefield saying each case would be judged on its own merits. The ASB provides two-factor authentication by means of a Netcode token — either a pocket device or a code sent to the customer’s cellphone.

However, the bank’s current internet banking terms and conditions veer to the conservative side. They state: “You will be liable for any loss suffered by us (including consequential loss) which results from your fraud or negligence.

“You will be liable for any loss suffered by us which results from unauthorised access to or use of your accounts ... to which you have contributed through your failure to comply with these terms and conditions.

“This includes if you: select an unsuitable password; fail to reasonably safeguard your password or Netcode token or unreasonably delay notifying us [of a suspected breach or risk of a breach].”

These conditions will still apply to users who avail themselves of the CA software offer, an ASB spokeswoman says.

ASB is offering CA’s Internet Security Suite Plus 2008, which will include anti-virus and anti-spyware, a personal firewall, anti-spam and anti-phishing filters, data backup and transfer, plus parental controls.

To qualify for the offer customers must sign on to, or already use, ASB’s FastNet Classic internet banking site and complete a security quiz. Once the 5,000 free licences have been given away, customers will be able to download the software for the discounted price of $34.95 as against the usual cost of $79.95, the bank says.

In December last year ASB conducted a security survey of 16,744 of its customers, which indicated only 58% of them were completely confident about their online protection.

“Customers were asked ‘How confident are you that you are taking adequate steps to protect yourself when transacting online?’

“Another 35% felt they should do more to protect themselves online. Only 6% were not at all confident and 1% said they didn’t care,” ASB says.

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