Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
From The Australian
Bank owns up to cyber swifty
By Andrew White
February 14, 2002
THE Commonwealth Bank, Australia's largest online banker, has admitted its NetBank service was the victim of fraud and revealed a major overhaul of bank systems is under way to combat the causes of recent blackouts in its online services.
But CBA chief executive David Murray yesterday denied fraud had occurred because of a flaw in the bank's operating systems. Rather it had been an "identity fraud by certain criminals" committed on the NetBank. He would give no further details, saying they were confidential.
Mr Murray's admission contrasted with previous statements from CBA that its systems had not been the victim of internet fraud or hacking.
Last July, the bank was forced to investigate the service's security after a computer technician claimed on Melbourne radio that hackers could gain access to customer accounts.
But CBA denied NetBank was hacked or that its customers' security had been compromised.
In May, CBA's head of cards and financial products, Nick Kennett, denied a report in The Australian that hackers had broken into the bank's system and taken card details.
"No one has hacked into the cards system. The cards system has not been compromised and card-holders' details have not been compromised," Mr Kennett said at the time.
The Australian Bankers Association, which is headed by Mr Murray, also denied last year that there had been any cases of hacking into Australian banks' online systems. However Mr Murray told The Australian yesterday: "Every system is susceptible to fraud.
"The question is, is the NetBank susceptible to fraud in a way that other systems are not – and it is not.
"Banks have suffered from fraud since they started".
Spokesmen for ANZ, Westpac and National Australia Bank told The Australian yesterday they were not aware of any cases of fraud involving their online banking services.
All banks, including CBA, guarantee their customers' funds in the event of fraud.
An estimated 2.5 million of CBA's 7.5 million customers use its online services, which include NetBank and the CommSec online share broking service.
Late last year CBA hired one of the foremost international internet security experts, Rob McMillan, from the United States as executive manager of information assurance.
Mr McMillan, an Australian, previously worked with the crack Computer Emergency Response Team at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, which is sponsored by the US Department of Defence.
He also recently co-authored a book on online security issues, urging Australian organisations to upgrade the security of their systems.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.