FSTC to explore two-factor authentication

Source: Financial Services Technology Consortium

In order to increase identity security and combat the growing threat of identity theft and related frauds, financial institutions are looking at ways to strengthen two-way, "mutual" authentication between themselves and their customers.

As customers access financial services through online services, telephone, and ATMs, better mutual authentication that works on all these channels can help increase identity security and reduce the potential for problems.

Twenty leading financial institutions and technology companies have chosen the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) to work on how best to move forward to secure identities and combat fraud. In response, FSTC today announced the launch of its Better Mutual Authentication Project. This project is being driven by FSTC's Security Standing Committee, a working group focused specifically on information security and identity-related threats to the financial industry.

"Identity security is a major priority for financial institutions of all sizes," said Zachary Tumin, Executive Director of FSTC. "Customers need to know that they are transacting with their financial institution, and not with someone looking to gain access to their account information. Establishing better mutual authentication is an important priority for the financial industry, and this initiative will play a critical role in achieving success."

The Better Mutual Authentication Project will focus on establishing a blueprint for the financial industry that all institutions can use to establish better mutual authentication between themselves and their customers, no matter whether they are communicating face-to-face in the branch, on the Internet, at ATMs, through the mail, or via telephone. The goal is to develop a basic framework that can be implemented industry-wide and then tailored to an individual institution's specific needs or a technology company’s unique product or service. Currently there are 20 participants including financial institutions, technology providers, and industry organizations.

"Better mutual authentication can play a critical role in retaining the trust of customers in using online and other remote financial services," said Jim Salters, FSTC's Director of Technology Initiatives and Project Development. "We are delighted to hear our members tell us that this cannot be a competitive issue, and that they want to collaborate to do what is best for the industry and for its customers."

FSTC brings together diverse, and often competitive financial institutions, industry services providers, government agencies, and others to collaborate and find solutions to key industry challenges. Project topics come from member financial institutions and are driven by participating members with the support of FSTC staff.

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