South Africa's Standard Bank is to spend millions of rand providing free virus protection software to customers and updating its Internet banking front-end following a recent high-profile key-logging assault at neighbouring Absa.
The bank says it will supply all new and existing Internet banking customers with McAfee personal firewall and anti-virus software free of charge. A virtual PIN (personal identification number) pad safety device has also been introduced to counteract the key-logging software used to defraud Absa clients.
The firewall and virus protection software can be downloaded from Standard Bank's Internet banking site after customers' have logged on. The cost will be borne by Standard Bank for one year, after which customers will be responsible for the maintenance fee on the software, which will be negotiated in bulk by Standard Bank.
Says Jacko Maree, Standard Bank chief executive: "Security in the financial environment has to be a partnership between a bank and its customers. These measures are designed to not only enhance our own controls against perceived threats, but also to assist our customers in securing their PCs."
Standard Bank and ISP Tiscali have also opened two customer helplines for queries and for support in installing the software.
Standard Bank's initiative comes as South African police arrested a man in connection with the unauthorised removal of R500,000 from bank accounts run by an estimated ten separate Absa customers in South Africa's Western Cape province.