Extra Free Security


Banks provide customers with additional security software

By Maria Korolov

When consumers log into their online banking accounts, is there anything that their bank might do to ensure that the person’s computer is free from keyloggers, viruses and other malware?

In fact, there is, and several community banks are taking advantage of online software systems, including free ones, to help make their customers safer. Alpine Bank in Glenwood Springs, Colo., Monona State Bank in Monona, Wis., and Nevada State Bank in Las Vegas, Nev., encourage their customers to download and use such software from their websites.

One of the most popular offerings is IBM’s Security Trusteer, which is used by more than 475 organizations, including seven of the 10 largest U.S. banks, and helps to protect more than 270 million consumer devices. IBM’s separate malware detection service runs completely in the cloud. The system notices suspicious behavior, such as users who log in from unusual locations at unusual times or who try to send money to a new payee.

IBM sells licenses to these security systems to the banks, many of which, in turn, make them available to customers at no charge.

“We look at 150 different indicators,” says Etay Mayor, executive security advisor at IBM. If a problem is found on a consumer’s computer, the software will send an alert to the bank, which can then disable the new payee, put a cap on transaction amounts, or send the user through a second authentication step.

“The basic concept is that it helps the bank detect malware on the end user’s device without any installation on the end user’s device,” Mayor says. “Anyone coming to log into the bank, the system will be able to tell if there is man-in-the-middle malware on the connection.”

For even more security, IBM also offers the Trusteer Rapport software, which users download to their computers. It cleans the computer, immunizes it against future infections and protects against phishing attacks. Unlike antivirus, which looks for signatures of known malware, the software looks for a wide variety of suspicious behaviors.

For community banks, Trusteer Rapport software helps protect online accounts by providing an additional layer of security to any antivirus or security software a person already uses. By protecting a person’s Internet connection, the software creates a tunnel for safe communication, which helps block malicious attempts to access the user’s accounts.

As Flushing Bank in Flushing, N.Y., explains on its website: “IBM Security Trusteer Rapport is lightweight security software that protects your online banking communication from being stolen by criminals. It acts as an additional layer of security to any anti-virus, firewall, or security software you already use by protecting your Internet connection and creating a tunnel for safe communication with Flushing Bank’s online banking website.”

Pulaski Bank in Creve Coeur, Mo., uses Trusteer Rapport software to protect its customers when they log onto its electronic banking and bill-pay websites. Some community banks go even further, making the software mandatory or offering incentives to customers to download and install it. At Cardinal Bank in McLean, Va., the software is mandatory for clients using its online cash management system.

Free Online Consumer Security Tools

F-Secure Online Scanner

Kaspersky Free Virus Scan:

ESET Online Scanner:

Trend Micro HouseCall

Microsoft Security Essentials

IBM Consumer Software Security Resources

IBM Security Trusteer Rapport

IBM Security Trusteer Pinpoint Malware Detection Advanced Edition

IBM Security Trusteer Mobile Browser

Providing Extra Protection

Community banks offering their customers free online security software.

Pulaski Bank

Lewiston State Bank

River Cities Bank

Cardinal Bank

Alpine Bank

Flushing Bank

Mountain West Bank

Monona State Bank

Berkshire Bank

Nevada State Bank

Peoples Bank

Georgia Bank and Trust

Maria Korolov is a technology writer in Massachusetts.