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HOW BANKS CAN COMBAT MAN IN THE MIDDLE ATTACKS

FINANCIAL SERVICES

– David Vergara, Senior Director of Product Marketing, OneSpan

 

Digital banking has soared in popularity over the last few years, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. A report looking at the UK finance landscape in 2020 found that only 7.7% of UK banking customers prefer in-branch visits, with the vast majority preferring to use online or mobile channels. As a result, bank branches across the UK have been closing down, with Which? estimating that the UK’s bank branch network has shrunk by a third in the past five years. This year alone 247 branch closures are due in the UK.

This trend towards digital has been fuelled by the customer-centric digital only challenger banks, such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling, who claim close to 20 million customers between them. In recent months, the global coronavirus pandemic has also forced many consumers to adopt digital banking platforms if they weren’t using them before as stay-at-home measures have prevented easy access to bank branches.

While digital banking has increased the overall customer experience, it’s also widened the target of attack for cybercriminals, with threats such as man-in-the-browser or man-in-the-middle attacks becoming more common, and having serious consequences for customers. Fortunately, there are a range of technologies banks can implement to help defend against such threats without compromising the user experience of digital banking.

 

Man in the middle attacks

These attacks occur when a cyber-criminal is able to intercept communications between a customer’s device and the banking server. The criminal is then able to alter the details of the transaction, such as the amount and intended bank account, without the customer noticing. As a result, a standard £100 transaction could turn into a £10,000 transaction that’s wired directly into the criminals’ bank account.

There are several ways criminals can intercept communications, but one common example is when a customer is using a public WiFi hotspot. These are often insecure, and are easy for cybercriminals to infiltrate. So when a customer makes a transaction using a public WiFi network, they may be unknowingly sharing sensitive financial transaction data through a network controlled by a cybercriminal.

 

Combatting man in the middle attacks through regulation

In Europe, the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) has pushed banks and financial institutions to evolve their online and mobile banking offerings, introducing a range of security requirements designed to counter man in the middle attacks.

For example, PSD2 has set out requirements for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) in addition to dynamic linking, which is also known as transaction data signing. The dynamic linking requirement protects a transaction in three parts. First, it requires that the payer authenticate the transaction data they’ve inputted such as the amount and the payee and confirm that it’s correct. An authentication code is then generated that links to the transaction data, so that any change in transaction details would invalidate the code.

Second, the confidentiality and integrity of the transaction data needs to be protected throughout the authentication process, so a bad actor cannot intercept and alter the details. This ensures the authentication code is generated based on authentic transaction details.

Finally, the customer needs to be aware of the transaction data they are asked to authenticate. This means that the transaction data needs to be presented to the customer at the time of authorisation.

 

Combatting man in the middle attacks through technology

Cronto technology is one way banks can verifying transactions and protect customers against man in the middle attacks. Cronto is available through a mobile app and secures the communication channel between the customer and the bank to protect the transaction data from being altered. The data is then presented in plain-text so the user can confirm it corresponds with their intended transaction before generating an authentication code based on the transaction’s details.

Only the bank is able to generate this code and it can only be decrypted by the user’s mobile device. This unique approach to transaction verification simplifies the experience because it reduces the user interaction required to authenticate a transaction – customers simply point their phone at the screen to scan the image – essentially a colour QR-like image – and enter a response code into the browser. This allows all of the encrypted transaction details to be communicated between the bank and customer without the risk of interception or tampering by hackers.

As a result, banks can offer a quick, user-friendly security solution that protects customers, ensures compliance and ultimately improves the user experience.

Banking

WHY BANKS NEED TO EMBRACE WELLBEING IN THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

Howard Pull, Head of Digital Transformation Strategy at MullenLowe Profero

 

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy has been huge. Over the past six months, youth unemployment figures have dropped, wages have stagnated and GDP has fallen by a record 20.4%. The drop in GDP is worse than the 2008 Financial Crisis, the Winter of Discontent and the Great Depression.

While the furlough scheme and other government measures have provided some much-needed financial support, the prevailing social and economic conditions have made money worries increasingly common. According to a recent survey from MullenLowe Profero, during the pandemic 40% of 18-25-year-olds are afraid to look at their bank account, with a further 40% stating that thinking about their money has a negative impact on their own personal wellbeing.

In response to these rising financial concerns from account holders, it is clear that banks need to help people – especially young people – feel more confident in managing their money. In particular, banks need to provide more educational support to their customers about how they can make the right financial decisions. This means designing tools and support services to enable more people to effectively manage their finances.

With 60% of consumers aged 18-25 believing that banks should help them have the capacity to absorb a financial shock, financial institutions also need to adapt their products and services to meet the needs of more uncertain account holders.

Adapting services, however, is easier said than done. The pandemic has radically shaped consumer behaviours and therefore the old rules no longer apply. For example, while consumers in the past may have preferred to discuss financial matters in person at a bank branch, risk of infection and the widespread use of digital tools has meant that the majority of young people want banks to provide wellbeing services online.

Digital experiences are also important to the future success of any bank. According to MullenLowe Profero’s report, digital experience is now the number one reason why young people choose a bank. Therefore, it is clear that banks during the pandemic and beyond need to reevaluate their operations and shape their personal wellbeing strategies around digital tools.

 

Community and Global Wellbeing

MullenLowe Profero’s report into financial wellbeing found that young people weren’t just concerned with their own personal wellbeing. They were also concerned about the importance of community and global wellbeing too. In fact, over half of 18-25-year-olds agree that the events of the last few months have made them seek out brands that do better for the world, with another 50% stating that the importance of a local community has increased during the pandemic.

Community wellbeing is concerned with the importance of local areas and the businesses and organisations that are based within them, whereas global wellbeing is concerned about the entire world. For banks, showing support for areas local to their branches and customers as well as issues affecting the globe such as the climate crisis is important to maintaining the trust and support of account holders.

Focussing banks on concerns around community and global wellbeing requires banks to assess their impact on the wider world. In other words, it forces banks to check who they support and where their money could be better placed. For example, young people want to be recognised for their positive behaviours. 56% of 18-25-year-olds want rewards and benefits for purchasing ethical and sustainable products and services.

The findings of the report found that young people across the board want financial institutions to reflect their values and to help them manage their finances. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our day to day lives, banks can provide much-needed support by offering educational help as well as creating products and services that actively manage an account holder’s finances. They can also step in and provide support to the wider community and world by taking measures to reward ethical and sustainable behaviours.

 

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Banking

IMPROVING THE BANKING EXPERIENCE THROUGH INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS

Javier Lopez, General Manager Vertical Solutions, OKI Europe Ltd

 

Banks play an integral role in daily life. However, everyday opportunities such as attracting new customers into branches to open an account, or promoting new offers and services to existing customers, can be lengthy, expensive and cumbersome processes – especially when tailoring communications to the specific requirements of each branch, or differing customer needs.

Quickly creating and adapting in-branch visual communications to communicate and educate cost effectively while remaining on brand can be a challenge, especially for banks that have networks of branches and print their visual communications centrally or use third-party suppliers.

 

Building trust through signage

Visual communications can help build trust and satisfaction between you and your customers.  The ability to create and print personalised communications on demand can not only instil confidence in your brand, it can also offer the flexibility to quickly adapt to financial trends and fluctuations in interest rates. This is particularly important in today’s volatile market, so that you can keep your customers informed while remaining competitive.

Javier Lopez

Printing in-branch and on-demand is an immediate and cost-effective way for banks to communicate with customers. With the right printer on-site, branch staff can easily create and print signage and customer communications as well as everyday documentation to a professional quality as and when needed. This saves on the cost of third-party suppliers and eliminates lead times for essential signage.

The ability to print a comprehensive range of collaterals in-house including freestanding and hanging banners, posters, self-adhesive floor and window stickers, as well as personalised leaflets and direct mailers, can help keep customers informed about the latest services and offers. It can also be used to remind both customers and staff to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, the same printer can be used for day-to-day documents such as personalised mortgage or loan offers.

 

A message that sticks

As the world adjusts to a new normality, OKI Europe Ltd recognises the challenges banks face when encouraging social distancing and has teamed up with Floralabels to offer free* social distancing media and artwork to create self-adhesive floor stickers that can be printed quickly and easily from an A3 colour printer such as the C800 Series.  Floor stickers can help ensure customers maintain safe distances while queuing at counters, kiosks and ATMs. The free stickers include self-adhesive floor circles (285 x 285mm) and rectangular floor banners in two sizes (215 x 900mm and 297 x 1,320 mm) with various designs and messaging options to choose from.

 

Achieving ROI with a do-it-all device

When it comes to printing in-branch, implementing a printer with unrivalled media flexibility will provide the best return-on-investment. Not only will the bank be saving on printing and delivery time and costs, it will also save on storage space or potential wastage as well as offering the flexibility to be more reactive to market trends in a timely manner.

OKI’s multi award-winning C800 Series A3 colour printer is designed to take up a minimal footprint and will supply everything from 1.3m metre hanging and freestanding banners to posters, self-adhesive floor stickers, window stickers, leaflets, flyers and much more on a diverse range of materials. Featuring OKI’s pioneering digital LED technology, the C800 Series delivers professional quality results, at high speed and on-demand.

Banks are vital to helping people and businesses prosper, supporting economic growth. Investing in cost-effective do-it-all devices that enable the fast rollout of eye-catching, professional quality collateral will help banks and their customers thrive.

 

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