UK banks in talks to tighten security

CeBIT: IT security is a major issue at the world's biggest trade show, with RSA revealing it is in high-level discussions with all the big UK banks

UK high street banks may soon tighten their security in a bid to protect customers from identity theft.

Security company RSA revealed on Thursday that it has been in discussions with all of the major UK banks about providing them with better security for their customers. Although UK banks have thus far been slow to take up increased security measures, RSA said they are now close to acting on identity theft.

"We are in conversations with all of them," said Tim Pickard, marketing director at RSA Security, speaking at CeBIT in Hannover. "It's an issue that's on all their minds. I expect you will see them move this year."

Last year Howard Schmidt, former cybersecurity advisor to the White House and chief security officer for eBay, called on all online businesses to implement stronger authentication for their customers' security. Some banks in Norway are already taking the issue seriously by generating one-time tokens to authenticate users.

As yet it is unclear how much money has been stolen through Internet identity theft but next month the Association for Payment and Clearing Services is set to release a report giving more details on the extend of the problem.

Pickard added that phishing attacks are likely to rise dramatically later this year, because fraudsters in China are creating huge databases of email addresses and identities.

"China and south Asia is likely to come online soon with phishing scams. They [phishers] are building databases to launch phishing attacks," said Pickard.

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