7 out of 10 banks are cyber-crime risk

Major banks and Government departments are failing to protect themselves against cyber-crime, new studies reveal.

Research into 17 online banking companies, including Barclays, HSBC, Abbey National and Lloyds TSB, showed that 72 per cent of them were vulnerable to long term hacking attacks.

Separate report found that two Government departments did not use basic ‘intrusion detection systems’, which act as a burglar alarm if someone tries to snoop on confidential information on computers.

IDS’s are recommended – both to make networks secure and to help comply with regulations – in the Department of Trade and Industry’s own best-practice guidelines.

The need for banks to protect against cyber-crime was highlighted last month when police foiled an attempt to steal £220million from a London-based Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui.

The criminals used ‘keylogging’ a way of recording every key someone presses on a computer keyboard.

Recently, keylogging has been turning up in so-called spyware programs. IT security consultancy Information Risk Management which compiled the online banking study, did not reveal which bank had the worst record.

But IRM’s Phil Robinson said banks should use standardised authentication methods.

Britain is falling behind the rest of the world. ‘It is the users who are suffering financial loss as well as a growing lack of confidence,’ he added.

Following the report on Government security in IT specialist SC Magazine, the DTI said the benefits of IDS were being studied and the technology could be introduced. ‘Controls are continually reviewed.’ It added.

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