Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank is to implement new bi-directional authentication services for online banking customers ahead of an end-year deadline for US banks to improve Web site security.
From this weekend, PNC Bank customers will choose an on-screen image and caption to use when they access their accounts. The customers and the bank will exchange the information to check each others' identities.
If the consumer is logging in from an unknown machine, the bank will ask a pre-determined personal question, such as "what is your best friend's first name?".
The authentication feature is part of a new 'PNC Security Assurance' programme, developed to offer a layer of security measures across all customer contact points. Information on the tools and resources available will be provided through the PNC Security Center, an online, one-click resource about information security and identity protection.
The new security procedures have been developed in response to calls from the The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council for banks to strengthen their online authentication by the end of 2006.