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Bank Rolls Out New Security System

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

July 20, 2005

Stung by recent high-profile security breaches, Bank of America is looking into the security of its customers who bank online.

"Before you know it, you can have tons of money spent in your name, but it's really not you," said Kelly Mosely, a frequent online-banker.

2005 has been marked with several highly publicized security breaches.

"For me, it's a concern. Obviously, it's a concern, it's not a nice feeling to know someone can actually take your identity," added Mosely.

Bank of America says, like any other bank, it understand the concerns of its customers, and have made fraud prevention their top priority. The leader of the U.S. banking market is rolling out a new online banking security system aimed at making it harder for cyber-thieves to get their hands on your money.

"I think it's a good step for them now... but it's too little too late. But the nature of the breach was such that no real security measures would have caught it," said Brian Shullaw, a Senior Research Analyst at SNL Financial.

It's called SiteKey, and only customers in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia can see it online for now.

SiteKey users select an image, write a brief phrase and pick three challenge questions. The questions are then used along with a customer ID and a passcode to guard access to the account. SiteKey also allows customers to verify they're actually using a Bank of America web site while logged on by clicking on a SiteKey button. If it's not the site, it could be a fake making them a target of a "phishing" scheme.

Bank of America compares SiteKey to getting a safe deposit box with two keys. Before the customer and the bank agrees to open the box together, they must confirm each other's identity.

Bank officials say that more than fifty percent of banking transactions take place online.


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