RBS and NatWest offer free online security software

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RBS and NatWest offer free online security software

Karl Flinders

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest are offering all of their customers a free download to secure their online banking activity.

The banks are offering the Rapport software from Trusteer, which acts as a secure vault within a PC to protect sensitive information from being stolen online.

The banks first made the software available in January to test its user acceptance, and 500,000 people have downloaded it. RBS Group has now decided to promote the software to all of its three million UK customers.

A spokesperson said the banks, which are both part of RBS, wanted to make sure the software was being used properly and was easy to download before announcing its availability to a wider audience.

Gavin Coull, e-crime prevention manager for RBS Group, said, "[The software] is fast to download and easy to install, but most importantly it allows us to quickly and effectively react to emerging threats. It also enhances the effectiveness of our existing card reader security."

Barclays was the first UK bank to offer all its online banking customers a complete and free internet security package. It provides free anti-virus software, anti-spyware, anti-adware, a firewall, spam-filtering software and parental controls. The software is from Kaspersky and would normally retail at £51 for an annual subscription.

Fraudsters stole £52.2m from UK online bank users in 2008, which was £29.9m more than 2007, according to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs).

The rise of 132% in a year is the highest since Apacs began recording this type of fraud in 2004. Online banking fraud actually fell from £33.5m in 2006 to £22.6m in 2007.

Apacs said that most of the losses were the result of phishing attacks. This is where a fraudster tricks a user into giving their confidential account details through an e-mail claiming to be from their bank. This type of attack increased by 71% in 2008 compared with 2007. There were 44,000 of these attacks last year compared with 26,000 the year before.


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