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City University to develop anti-fraud mobile banking

City University is to recieve government funding to develop anti fraud systems for mobile banking.

The university will receive a modest £135,000 to conduct a three year development project to create security systems for banking transactions for mobile phones that is more secure and simpler to use than current mobile banking methods. If the project is successful, it will deliver security cost savings and market growth opportunities that far outstrip this initial investment.

Current mobile banking systems generally require a customer to insert a new dedicated SIM to authenticate a transaction. This results in "poor user experience" and low uptake, the university said, as consumers were forced to switch SIM cards or have a separate phone.

The team of researchers are developing a new form of security software, which generates a personal code or "crypto key" for each user through their existing SIM card.

The systems will be the "simplest yet securest" form of mobile banking authentication to date, the researchers say.

The funding is provided by UK-India Education and Research Initiative, a government initiative that aims to strengthen research links between Great Britain and India.

The research is particularly important in both countries, as mobile banking gains popularity in the UK, and the uptake of mobile phones in India is due to hit 80 million handsets by the end of the year, according to researchers Mobile Squared.

Industry body the GSM Association created an initiative entitled Mobile Money for the Unbanked, which set the goal of bringing mobile financial services to 20 million people who previously did not have bank accounts, by 2012.

But Dr Rajarajan, the university's assistant dean of e-learning who is leading the research project, warned that security concerns and the complexity of many services "will hamper adoption".

"With this new technology, we hope to overcome these barriers-to-entry and help both banks and mobile network operators to roll out secure and easy-to-use mobile banking services," he explained.

The research team has already worked with banks in India and the UK to develop a prototype of the technology.

It is also liaising with local government organisations in different countries to explore how the system could be deployed in other mobile transaction applications, such as paying for parking and congestion charges.

In the next stages, academics will study in depth how the system will work in practice. Warwick Business School will carry out a feasibility study for the system, and a cyber criminologist from The University of Leeds Law School will help develop the necessary legal framework.

In June, City University said it will offer a masters degree suitable for people who plan to become chief information officers.

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