HSBC is to begin using software to visually demonstrate that its websites are genuine and help prevent its customers becoming victims of increasing numbers of phishing scams.
The bank's retail division in the UK will in May begin using the Extended Validation SSL from Verisign to give its three million online customers reassurance that they are using a genuine HSBC website.
The bank will put the software on websites that require customers to input their personal details. A green bar appears on the screen certifying to the user that the website is genuine.
Phishing attacks replicate websites belonging to banks to steal personal information from customers, which are then used to take money from accounts.
Barry Jones, senior manager, group IT security at HSBC, said the certificates from Verisign would increase customer confidence. "Deploying [this] will allow us to send an instantly recognisable signal - the reassuring green bar - to our online banking customers, confirming that any personal information they supply on that page will go directly to HSBC and no one else.
He said it is a low cost and simple method of protecting online users, which could be rolled out across the HSBC group globally if different businesses and regions decide to emulate the UK.
This follows the adoption of the technology by HSBC owned online bank First Direct earlier this year.
The latest figures from APACS showed more than 10,000 reported phishing incidents in the first quarter of 2008 which was a 200% increase from the same period last year.