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Why finance & banking face a new Wild West
Tuesday, 29 August 2017

It's almost exactly 100 years since the last stagecoach robbery. Ever since, banks and thieves have been locked in a battle of wits. But today's tussles are being fought in a new Wild West — and the criminals often appear to be winning.

Wild West 900

The last stagecoach robbery took place near Jarbridge, Nevada, in December 1916. Robbers ambushed the wagon, killed the driver and made off with $4,000 in bills and gold coins.

But the case also made history for another reason: It was the first time in American history that a murderer was convicted and sent to prison by the use of palm print evidence. Suddenly, the authorities had the upper hand, if you excuse the pun (though the money has never been found).

However, in today's world of money transfers, the balance of power seems to be tilting the other way — with banks and financial companies going to a gunfight, armed only with a penknife.

Welcome to the New West
Today, a new Wild West has emerged where it's possible for felons to plunder customer details and sometimes extract millions — before the law has got its boots on. Thieves are smarter, swifter and subtler. The crimes are still as brazen as a bank stick-up ... but the impact is far-reaching.

Hackers boasted of thefts from a large high-street bank — months before the company reported losing £2.5m in an attack last year. It's estimated that some 9,000 accounts were affected in this “unprecedented” breach. And in April, nearly a quarter of a million UK customers with payday loan company Wonga may have had their data stolen in what could be one of the biggest data breaches in the UK's history[1], though the company said it didn't think passwords were stolen.

But hacking isn't the only form of attack. Financial Fraud Action UK has warned of six telephone techniques that financial fraudsters commonly use to scam members of the public into handing over financial or personal information[2]. Just recently, Barclays Bank even took the bold step of creating a TV advert on how to avoid giving out passwords over the phone to rogue contact centre agents[3].

Watch The Barclays TV advert here - (Youtube)

How the West was won
Warnings are great but action is needed. Just like in the old Wild West, thieves strike at specific points of vulnerability — like the lonely stagecoach rolling through the open prairie or the town bank's wobbly wooden doors, easily blown apart by a stick of dynamite.

Here are three areas of potential weakness where military-grade protection is needed by banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions to keep winning:

#1: Secure transations

Ultra-robust PCI DSS is needed when customers login, make payments or carry out money transfers via the web, mobile apps, IVR systems or when speaking to contact centre agents. Fortunately, solutions exist today for banks and financial companies that will thwart criminals at every step. Get the Definitive Guide to PCI DSS Compliance.

#2: Secure self-service

Today's customers demand greater control 24/7. But giving them extra freedom can risk lowering the drawbridge and letting in thieves at the same time. However, solutions are now available that enable secure self-service across multiple channels.

#3: Secure Omnichannel service

More bank and finance customers are expecting an integrated experience that moves seamlessly between web, Web Chat, mobile and voice channels. Now it's possible to offer free-spirited Omnichannel service without any weak links in security. Get the Omnichannel ebook here.

Eckoh has vast experience in the banking and financial services sector, providing solutions for the likes of Lloyds, RBS, Allpay, CIMA and others.To find out more about how we can help you meet the challenges of your sector get in touch.
[1] IT Pro Wonga hack: payday loan firm suffers massive data breach(April 2017)
[2] Financial Fraud Action UK: Revealed: The six language tricks financial fraudsters use to take advantage of trusting Brits(31 May 2017)
[3] Barclays: Digital Safety TV ad(8 May 2017)

About the Author

Claire Lynam

Claire Lynam

Marketing Manager

Claire is a professional marketer with 30 years experience in marketing, communications and PR, creating content and collateral that resonates with an organisation's audience. Having worked in multi-national companies and SMEs, Claire has expertise in creating messaging that works for both B2C and B2B markets. 

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