Egg hit by 'security alert'

But Prudential's Internet bank says it's just a false alarm.

Users of Egg, the Internet banking arm of insurance giant Prudential, were hit with a "security alert" Friday, complete with a large message flashing onto their screens.

Users were told that digital codes protecting the site were not valid. But not to worry -- according to Egg, the problem was merely administrative, and did not affect the 50,000 credit card accounts held through the site. While Egg representatives admitted in reports that the message "looks bad", the company said it appeared because a license had not arrived from Verisign, a US security company.

The incident underscores the relatively new and untested state of Internet banking, which has only taken off in recent months. Some Egg customers have previously complained about slow service, and Web sites -- including banking sites -- are susceptible to network outages that make them inaccessible. Egg, however, downplays customer complaints, saying it has only received a handful of complaints so far.