Technology To Authenticate Internet Banking Users Threatens Consumer Privacy


A technology that’s commonly used to authenticate users when they log in for online banking may help reduce fraud, but it reportedly does so at the expense of consumer privacy. This was announced by a civil liberties attorney during a panel at the RSA security conference yesterday.

When you login to a Bank’s web sites, you are typically asked for user name and password. But that’s on the face of it; behind the scenes, the web site’s server is typically trying to identify the device that’s being used – in an attempt to verify that the person logging in is the person whose account is being accessed (under the assumption that most people use the same computer for banking).

The technology not only can be used to allow legitimate customers into Web sites, but also to block computers that have been targeted as “bad actors,” said Todd Inskeep, a senior vice president for the Center for the Future of Banking at Bank of America.

Even though none of the information gathered during a log-in is personally identifiable, the bank shouldn’t have to collect regular data on when, how often and from where a consumer accesses a bank account, said Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Such information can typically be compiled with other more sensitive information to create profiles and cross referenced to learn more about consumers, she said.

There is very little privacy protection in the U.S. for this type of information,” Granick said. “We don’t want it shared with affiliates that do advertising.” There should be restrictions on how long the bank will keep the data, who it can share it with and for what purposes, she added.

Asia-Pacific Banks To Converge Their Mobile & Internet Banking Channels


A new report by Financial Insights has revealed that banks in the Asia-Pacific region will increasingly converge their mobile and Internet banking channels over the next 12 months. In the process, this will impact how banks and other financial institutions craft their channel strategies and engage with customers.

Convergence is reportedly being driven by banks that are aiming to make financial services available to customers anywhere and at any time. They have to grapple with various issues as they converge the two channels including: (1) the level of mobile technology capable of commonly supporting financial transactions over mobile devices; (2) getting the various parties on board and in agreement; and (3) a user-friendly interface.

Improved mobile technology has allowed financial institutions to provide applications that can work on a large number of mobile phones. Thus, the availability of innovative mobile devices across the region will undoubtedly help it to become the common banking channel in the Asia-Pacific region in 2009 and beyond.

First Dakota National Bank Email Scam


First Dakota National Bank is warning of an e-mail scam seeking the personal information customers. According to a media release issued by the bank earlier today, the e-mails resemble correspondence from First Dakota.

The scam email states: “You have 1 new ALERT message. Please login to your First Dakota National Bank Online Login and visit the Message Center section in order to read the message. To Login, please click the link below: First Dakota National Bank Online Banking.

If an unsuspecting person clicks the link, it takes them to a “phishing site” that claims their Internet banking account has been locked and requests personal information such as a name, e-mail address, zip code and debit card information.

In today’s media release, the bank stated: “These e-mails are fraudulent and have NOT been authorized by First Dakota. First Dakota will NEVER request your personal information via phone or e-mail. Do not enter any information. If you have responded and given your card number, PIN number or any personal information, contact your bank immediately.

The First Dakota name has also been used during the last week in a massive phone scam that attempts to get people to give out personal information.

It’s Never Too Late To Start Saving


One of the best ways to achieve your financial goals is through savings. But with so many expenses and so many tempting things to spend our money on, this can often prove to be difficult. Here are a few steps to get you on the path to achieve your goals.

Be Disciplined
To achieve any goal in life, one needs to be disciplined. Similarly, saving and investing too requires discipline. A disciplined approached helps you to remain focused on your financial goals. Formulate a plan and review it periodically to ensure that you are on the right track.

The 10% Rule
Your goal should be to save at least 10% of your total before tax earnings. This should be the minimum. Most millionaires live far below their means as they are disciplined and highly focused on their financial goals from beginning. They are millionaires because they have decided to be so.

Review Your Current Consumption Patterns
Conduct a careful study of your consumption patterns. Identify expenses that you can do without or explore opportunities to reduce your costs without overly sacrificing the item. Review items such as your cable bill, telephone bill, utilities, entertainment expenses and gas. Divert these cash savings automatically to an investment account.

Budgeting Plan
Budgeting is vital to any savings strategy. By breaking down your expenses you will see exactly where your money is going. Wasteful consumption patterns can be controlled through successful budgeting.

Plan to Make Your Saving Automatic
Set up an account that will take the money automatically out of your chequing account or pay cheque each month. Let the amount be directed to an investment account. This type of savings allows you to save first and spend the rest from your pay cheque.

And remember, even though saving may seem like a huge sacrifice today; think of the rewards you will reap in the long run.