Factor Authentication in Online Banking

When you set out to choose a bank, you probably look at things like the accounts they offer, how much interest they pay, and how helpful they are to customers when you need to take out a loan or get a mortgage. But in the increasingly online world, in which Internet banking is becoming as commonplace as ATMs, perhaps it's also time to start looking at the security these banks offer you?

In this series we've explored the weaknesses of the common login page. Banks generally use more rigid looking login pages, utilizing your PIN on top of a password in many instances. But what are the flaws in these systems, which can make them as unsecured as any old login page? And what are the security heads of these companies doing to step up to the plate and make logging into your online bank account a more secure thing to do?

In this article, we're first going to examine the holes that exist in the current systems. Then we're going to take a closer look at the options that will soon be available to us to consider, in addition to interest rates and ATMs - the security of our online banking.

The big catchphrase among security experts for tomorrow is 2 Factor Authentication (2FA). This is not the solution to all of the difficulties relating to identity management on the Internet, but it is a big improvement on what's out there right now. We'll put the term 2 Factor in context with other solutions commonly found on the Internet, and discuss what it actually is, and is not.

By way of introduction, 2FA aims to put another barrier between you, a hacker and your bank account. The crux of this is to put this second factor of authentication outside the reach of hackers, oftentimes by making it separate from the computer on which you are entering your data. For example, it might be a use-once code, based on your PIN or distinct from it, that is generated by a handheld computer.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, let's take a look at what's currently keeping (and failing to keep) our bank accounts and other data secure online.