Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DBS / POSB ATM Card Fraud Security Improvements

It has been more than a month since the DBS/POSB ATM card fraud has occured in Singapore (or rather, in Malaysia) and some security features have long been implemented.

The bank has returned all the affected customers' money in full to reduce the lost of trust. We have heard that not all banks, except banks in Singapore, would have done the same.

What DBS/POSB has lost is their reputation and a small portion of customers who are wary of the same incident happening again, but the tide will be over soon. Banks in Singapore are much more secured than banks in many other countries because of Singapore government's strong financial backup. The fact that most Singapore residents own a DBS/POSB bank account each makes the bank strong for it is easier for money transaction between the accounts; besides, many Singapore residents depend on the GIRO payment service.

The bank was quick to analyse the victims' records of their interaction with ATM machines, scaled down the search and discovered issues with two ATM machines in Bugis that had been tampered with. The company did not announce the exact ATM machines even though they had fixed the problem. Two Malaysians were also caught by Singapore police force for possession of devices that could read and steal ATM card information.

DBS/POSB has claimed that the most important security feature that would jerk the ATM card to prevent external device from reading the card when inserting into the ATM machine would slow down the process; and thus, the bank did not activate the feature in all ATM machines. Instead, they have deployed other security features, such as the CCTV.

A major security feature being implemented after the card fraud incident is the suspension of overseas withdrawal. If you try to withdraw money using your DBS/POSB ATM card at overseas, you have to call the bank to activate it. As told by an affected customer, the activation would only allow a single transaction; thereafter, the ATM card holder has to call the bank again to activate it. If you try withdrawing money three times without activating it, your bank account will be suspended.

This is a good security feature for DBS/POSB customers who do not travel out of Singapore but the smaller portion of customers would have to bear with it.

All banks in Singapore are looking at improving the ATM cards and replacement would probably be made within two years.

Meanwhile, customers should try to help the bank and themselves by observing if the ATM machines are being tampered. This is difficult since very few people are experts in the ATM's design. Customers can also change their PINs regularly, which most people would not do for they are glad enough to remember their existing numbers. However, there is one last thing that a responsible customer should do - cover the number pad and fingers when he/she is keying the PINs. Many Singaporeans would have skipped that as they are afraid of "losing face" (embarrassment) for being "kia si" (afraid to die), but nothing beats securing the PINs so that money would not be lost.

Everyone should start the ball rolling by covering their fingers with the other hand when keying their ATM PINs. Let this be a norm and not something that people should feel embarrassed for doing.

Thanks Eve Lim for the contribution.

1 comment:

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