How Financial Services Are Becoming More Secure

biometrics for financial services security

The financial services industry has adopted new technologies to protect sensitive customer information. (Photo credit to Google Images)

The following guest post on improving financial services security was submitted by Damien Troy.

As technology improves and continually evolves, security becomes increasingly important. While new technologies being used in businesses and services is generally a positive, it can also leave them vulnerable to the latest cybercrime, such as hacking and identity theft. For services dealing with sensitive personal information, this is particularly important. Financial services such as banks, advisors and short term loan companies, like loanpig.co.uk, all have a responsibility to keep their customers information secure. Here’s how financial services are improving their security.

End-to-end Encryption

End-to-end encryption has been in place within financial services for some time now. Its purpose is to keep important personal information, such as credit card details, private. Whenever a user sends their information to a website, such as by entering their payment details online, they are vulnerable to cybercrime. Once the information has been sent out, the user has no control over it. Encryption scrambles the information, making it illegible should it be accessed by anyone other than the intended recipient. End-to-end encryption makes sure the data is only readable by the sender and the recipient.

Biometric Security

In the future, we could see biometric security being used widely throughout the financial service industry. Biometric security involves using an individual’s biological traits to identify them, for example fingerprint or iris recognition. This technology could be highly beneficial for the financial service industry because it is more secure than a password or PIN code and it could also potentially cut costs by reducing the need for two-step verification via SMS message.

Ransomware Protection

The threat from ransomware is continually increasing, as new schemes are online every day. These attacks are becoming far more sophisticated than a generic phishing email and have the potential to steal large amounts of customers’ personal data. Some examples of more sophisticated ransomware include programs which are able to offer online helpdesks to their victims to gather information. In order to protect themselves from this threat, financial service providers need to be able to identify threats and have a recovery plan in place. In addition, computers need to be kept updated with appropriate security software which is vital for reducing the risk of Trojans and ransomware. Some banks have even gone as far as offering their customers free security software, to help protect their information.

Moving Away From Passwords

Many financial service providers still rely upon generic passwords, such as mother’s maiden name, place of birth. All of this personal information is easily available on social media. Some banks are already moving away from this type of password and instead using one-time only passwords which are sent directly to the customer’s phone each time they want to access their bank or loan provider. The movement towards one-time passwords is a positive step to improving security, but it will take a long time to fully implement them across all the financial service sectors. Some clever marketing strategies will also be required to get customers on board with the process.

Author bio:

Damien Troy is an experienced business man with many years working within the financial sector of business. He has helped many struggling businesses overcome financial difficulty and create success where it looked least likely.

August #biometricchat Summary – Using Biometrics to Protect Corporate Data with @BiokeyIntl

August's #biometricchat tweet chat on biometric technology focused on using biometrics to protect corporate data

August’s #biometricchat recap with @BiokeyIntl

This past Thursday marked August’s #biometricchat tweet chat where we discussed using biometrics to protect corporate data with our special guest Scott Mahnken from Bio-key International. Bio-key are experts in developing and deploying biometric single sign-on identification systems to help businesses protect their data and intellectual property.

There has been a lot of news coverage recently about corporation data breaches and hackers taking advantage of weak user passwords to steal data and compromise database security. With the increasing focus on adopting an alternative to passwords, PINs, key fobs, and other conventional methods of identification, more businesses are evaluating the power of biometric technology to protect data, using it as an exclusive single sign-on solution or part of a multi-factor authentication strategy.

We began our discussion with a look at why Scott felt that biometrics were a more viable alternative to PINs and passwords. He offered that many high profile corporate IT professionals are predicting that passwords will soon be replaced by more advanced single sign-on technology (like biometrics). Passwords and PINs can be easily shared, swapped, or stolen whereas biometrics are something you always carry with you and can’t be easily shared. Furthermore, resetting passwords can be a tremendous resource drain for IT staff with some predictions that password resets can cost a company anywhere from $15 – $20 per reset and consume up to 40% of a workday.

Millions of dollars per year are lost from corporate data breaches and in 2011, at least 558 data breach incidents cost U.S. businesses more than $6.5 billion. The chat discussion talked about the impact of these losses to businesses and why it’s important for them to address the topic of corporate data breaches proactively before hackers can infiltrate a database.

Scott from Bio-key then explained that the healthcare industry just may stand to lose the most from data breaches because of their mission critical work and the sensitivity and importance of protecting patient information. Scott tweeted:

“Managing patient care and the flow of medicines (for healthcare) requires extremely secure and accurate solutions.”

Not to mention the fact that hospitals can lose their meaningful use revenue if they fail to comply with patient data protection measures and biometrics can provide security and transaction tracking along with the compliance that medical facilities seek.

The remainder of the chat transcript can be viewed through the Storify summary which can be found here. Our thanks to Scott and Bio-key for being our guest on this month’s chat and for all that participated in the discussion! The next #biometricchat will be held September the 13th – stay tuned to our blog for more information and details!