The Commonwealth Bank will issue free two-factor authentication tokens to some 30,000 "highly active" customers of its Internet banking service as part of a drive to improve security.
The tokens produce a one-time, unique code that can be used by customers to log into the bank's NetBank system. The code is unique to each customer's token and changes every 30 seconds.
"This is the first phase of the bank's two-factor authentication program; the next wave will be to introduce SMS authentication codes for other NetBank customers," the bank said in a statement issued yesterday announcing the plans.
The SMS authentication scheme will allow customers to receive a similar code via text message to their mobile phone.
"With these solutions in place, customers can carry out their online banking activities with greater peace of mind," said the bank's group executive of Retail Banking Services, Michael Cameron.
Second-factor authentication tokens have long been used by large organisations such as banks and welfare agency Centrelink internally, but their provision to consumers is only now starting to gain in popularity.
The use of SMS messages to secure online banking transactions is a little more popular, with several other banks such as the National Australia Bank already offering the service.