Digital banking software

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Security continues to be a priority for consumers when it comes to their financial data, alongside their bank’s reputation for being secure, according to a financial technology company.

Half (50 per cent) of consumers said they would look to switch banks if they suffered a cyberattack, and a similar amount (47 per cent) said they would lose complete trust in their bank if this happened. It’s not just current clientele banks need to be aware of – it’s also limiting new customers, says Intelligent Environments. Almost three quarters of banking customers (73 per cent) see security as one of the most crucial factors in helping them decide with whom to bank, and more than two fifths (42 per cent) stated that a bank’s reputation for being highly secure was also a main factor in the decision behind who they trust with their financial data, from their current to their savings account, and even their mortgages.

In response to consumer concern around banking security, Intelligent Environments is launching a new tool, Interact AppSensorFS. This uses machine learning to increase the defensive measures within banking, deploying sensors within the application to detect potential cyber security threats, and then automatically launching actions to protect the system.

Intelligent Environments has worked with ideas put forward by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a not-for-profit focused on improving the security of software. After a year-long project with the Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), AppSensorFS is now being offered to Intelligent Environments’ clients.

AppSensorFS is a core component of the Interact digital banking platform provided by Intelligent Environments. The software uses a detection approach involving machine learning to identify and neutralise threats in real-time. It will be able to model user behaviour, teaching AppSensorFS to recognise erratic behaviour, a telling sign that a hacker is entering or is inside a bank’s system. This will then send an alert to security and automate a response. AppSensorFS connects remote sensing detectors together into a common security console, helping to monitor the overall security risk and activates alarms if defensive action is required.

Clayton Locke, Chief Technology Officer of Intelligent Environments, says: “Cyberattacks are a huge problem representing a major cost to banking business and huge reputational risk. The demand from banking customers for stronger cybersecurity measures is growing, with high-profile hacks making the headlines. We see the introduction of AppSensorFS as a major step towards addressing the need for stronger security. It can play a key role in solving one of the biggest challenges facing the financial services sector today.

“Currently, no European retail bank has attack-aware security built into their business applications. Almost all security tools today are looking at the network and perimeter infrastructure – yet experience shows that hackers eventually find a way through these perimeter defences. Using phishing and other techniques, hackers have user IDs and passwords, and are able to bypass traditional security mechanisms.”

And Philip Mills, Head of Business Development at CSIT, Queen’s University Belfast, says: “As in many other sectors, financial services companies are now faced with the challenge of deploying technology that can deal with threats in real-time, and meet the demands of their customers for ongoing protection. As a global innovation hub for cybersecurity, CSIT is working at the cutting edge of such technology, and seeking to ensure that the research community continues to provide technology solutions which address real-world challenges. We are very proud to have been able to collaborate with Intelligent Environments on this project, ensuring that their Interact® AppSensorFS product continues to meet customer demand and keep them secure.”