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Commonwealth Bank of Australia Defends Mobile Banking Security

Mobile banking is in some ways more secure than online banking, Commonwealth Bank of Australia says.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, an outspoken proponent of cloud computing, this week defended the security of mobile banking, saying that in some cases mobile banking is more secure than banking on a desktop or laptop.

"Mobile itself doesn't create a security concern, you have to build paradigms that are secure for the volume of the transaction that you're doing. In certain cases, mobile can be more secure," Tim Whiteley, executive general manager of service development for Commonwealth Bank, told an Australian IT publication.

"If you think about [banking] on the net, you know your log-in, you know your password and then we give you a one-time token password for a transaction. You can use the mobile to create at least as secure a paradigm as that because we know [the transaction] comes from a SIM [card] on a phone that is registered to you. That's nicer than not knowing what PC you have so it gives us another way of recognizing you. Makes it stronger," Whiteley added.

Whiteley said that smartphones have the ability to see, hear and know where they are, making them good tools for recognizing users.

Like many banks, CBA currently directs customers to a mobile version of its internet banking platform via a web browser, rather than transacting through pre-installed software. Whitely says this method is designed to keep user data safe from hackers.

"At the moment, we manage our security mostly via the existing website paradigm. We don't install significant amounts of software on people's phones so we haven't increased our security risk from that," he said.

"If you install things on a phone then potentially there's a way to hack them, but that's not where we're currently running." The bank also offers its customers a free six-month trial of McAfee antivirus software.

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