CommBank offers free security software

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CommBank offers free security software

Six-month deal with McAfee.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has begun offering its NetBank customers free security software after finding that only 56 percent of customers had security products installed.

Customers were invited to use McAfee’s Internet Security product at no charge for six months in accordance with a confidential deal struck between the bank and security vendor.

The software boasted anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-phishing and firewall capabilities. It could be downloaded from within the NetBank portal, which had about 5.5 million users.

At the conclusion of the six-month trial, customers could choose to subscribe to the McAfee service at 25 percent off the retail price of $99.95 per year.

CBA’s General Manager of Online Banking Drew Unsworth said the offer commenced in January, to address findings of a late-2009 customer survey.

While 65 percent of NetBank customers claimed to be aware of internet security software, only 56 percent said they had such software installed.

The survey also revealed that although 80 percent of customers knew that they should not keep written copies of their NetBank passwords, 30 percent did so anyway.

Since CBA employed two-factor authentication via its NetCode SMS system, Unsworth noted that the “security marketing” campaign aimed farther than simply protecting online banking transactions.

“We spend a lot of time researching customers, about what’s important to them, and what their level of [security] awareness is,” he said, highlighting identity theft as a major concern.

“We are always aware that there are people who like to take money from our customers ... [but] the fraud that we have [experienced] is really, really low.”

Unsworth said the bank ran a similar security software campaign in 2008, but had since seen a “staggering growth in customers”.

Suncorp, Westpac and the National Australia Bank also offered customers free or discounted security software by vendors AVG, PC Tools and ZoneAlarm in 2008 and 2009.

A McAfee spokesman told iTnews today that the deal was part of an exclusive partnership with the CBA, which also used McAfee software internally.

Unsworth said the offer would remain in place until customer interest waned.

No financial terms were disclosed.

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