Aussie online banking security costs more than it saves

Powered by SC Magazine

Online fraud rates don't always justify the investment.

IT security projects at Australia's leading banks may not face high enough online fraud rates to justify their cost in pure return on investment (ROI) terms.

According to banking security specialist Jake Lambert, technical account manager at authentication vendor Vasco, Australia enjoys a relatively low level of online banking fraud compared with other advanced economies.

"The rate of online banking fraud is considerably higher in Europe and the rate of growth around the world is considerably higher again," he said.

Banks in Europe can therefore make a case to upgrade to each new generation of IT security products in clear ROI (return on investment) terms.

Each investment, spread across many millions of customers, cost less than the dollar value of fraud the technologies have proven to prevent.

It's far more difficult for an Australian bank to make such a clear-cut case.

"Today the reality is that it can cost more to enable the solutions than what is being compromised via the fraud," Lambert said.

His assertion raises an important question – why do some of Australia's banks continue to invest in the latest security technologies when ROI is so difficult to calculate?

Thankfully for customers, the new investments continue to keep Australia a difficult target for global fraudsters.

But Lambert argues that there is more to it than simply being proactive.

The more technology-savvy of Australia's banks – The Commonwealth Bank, as a prime example, have managed to "productise" security or found a way to market it for competitive edge.

Business banking customers may choose to upgrade account options to gain better protections, Lambert noted.

Equally a bank might use the introduction of the latest and greatest security tools to reinforce a message to its customers - both of its role as an innovator and as a trusted business partner.

Again, it is hard to generate a clear ROI case, but over time it is expected that such investments generate customer loyalty and higher margins.

In any case, Lambert doesn't expect Australia to get off so lightly in the future.

"In two years we'll be where Europe is today on rates of online fraud," he warned.

"Our isolation – and to some degree our culture - has helped us thus far," he said. "Criminals will always focus their activity on where there is most to gain, so a market of several hundred million users is more lucrative to a cybercriminal than a nation of 20 million.

"But increasingly we are on the map, as our economy is globally recognised as doing well. And as the population of Australia increases, you can expect attacks will increase."

Lambert predicts that eventually the Australian Government will mimic some of its international peers and mandate two-factor authentication for online banking transactions.

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia

Aussie online banking security costs more than it saves
Top Stories
Toll Group to go Google
Poaches Woolworths project manager.
How News Corp's CIO tackled skills in his race to the cloud
What to do when your team’s talents are no longer needed.
Photos: How Thodey transformed Telstra
From turbulent Trujillo to Australia's leading telco.
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
Latest Comments
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?

   |   View results
Your bank
Your insurance company
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
Your telco, ISP or utility
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)

Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?

   |   View results
I support shutting down the OAIC.
I DON'T support shutting the OAIC.