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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

IBM unveils USB stick to fight online banking fraud

IBM has unveiled a prototype USB stick designed to secure online banking transactions against malware and man-in-the-middle attacks.

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Have you seen my USB stick thingy er dongle?

While I commend IBM on their attempt to create a practical solution to online banking fraud, because we all know there is a real problem, but this device, which looks very similar in concept to something unveiled in Australia some time ago, is just another in a long line of such gadgets.

It isn't that I believe it won't work, because it might for a while, however I would, along with most consumers, prefer to use something I already own and carry.

We are all getting tired of the add-a-gadget approach, after all our drawers and bins are full of them, and there isn't really any need to manufacture and ship and eventually dispose of a whole bunch of gadgets when most of us already own one which would suffice - our mobile.

Having had more than a passing interest in IT for a several of decades now, I've seen a lot of things come and go. This is what used to be called a dongle. A USB dongle at that, but a dongle nevertheless. It might see some practical use for peer-to-peer file sharing to keep the teenagers one step ahead of the latest attempt to prevent file-sharing, but that's not IBM's style.

With the new rage being to use your mobile for internet access and a growing desire among consumers to use them for everything, isn't a usb dongle rather impractical? I suppose I could get another pocket sewn on my pants to carry a lead or mobile adapter and my shiny new dongle but I doubt it'll catch on. I think it'll have minimal impact on IBM's bottom line, unless of course they put it in their back pocket - ouch.

One thing is for sure - it's probably going to lead to a lot of questions like:

Have you seen my dongle?


Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 October, 2008, 08:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I agree, the mobile-based transaction authorisation is the most convenient solution for the customers. A very popular one working at our regions' banks is the one-time-password sent in SMS.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 October, 2008, 11:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yes József, the SMS idea is ok so long as the SMS arrives quickly, however it's not fast and the older you are the less you like it. There is of course the issue that it isn't really secure and if widely deployed it will be be subject to an increasing number of successful attacks.

I like the idea of being able to do the same thing from the cradle to the grave, one method which I can use with all the mobiles I'll ever own in my lifetime so I never have to learn anything new (or carry anythng except my mobile).

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