First Direct attempts to build customer confidence

First Direct is helping overcome customer fears of phishing attacks through technology that tells customers whether they are on the genuine site or not.

First Direct is helping overcome customer fears of phishing attacks through technology that tells customers whether they are on the genuine site or not.

First Direct, which is HSBC's online banking division, has implemented a digital security certificate from Verisign that will prevent customers from being coaxed into phishing websites.

Phishing is the practice used by fraudsters who recreate an online banking website and steal the personal log-in details from victims.

The Verisign Extended Validation secure socket layer certificates will inform users of the Internet Explorer version 7.0 web browsers whether they are on the legitimate First Direct site or not.

Jonathan Etheridge, head of e-futures at First Direct, said this method of security does not change the user experience. "The certificate sits on the web server that does the online banking and when a user is on the genuine site a green bar appears but if it is not legitimate a red bar appears," said Etheridge.

He said web browsers such as Opera and Firefox will support the security feature in the future.

He said this system is a good way of providing security without inconveniencing the users. "The key is to make it as difficult as possible for the attacker but not inconvenient for the customer," he said.

He said First Direct has taken an approach of introducing lots of different security measures that do not make the user experience more difficult. "Two-factor authentication is not the be all and end all. We have put lots of barriers in that the customer does not see."

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