CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bank of America says its new online security system, SiteKey, will be rolled out in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and should be available nationwide by this fall. The Charlotte-based megabank, with 13.2 million online bankers, launched the service in Tennessee recently. Using technology from PassMark Security, SiteKey requires users to select one of a thousand different images, write a brief phrase and pick three challenge questions, instead of the traditional user name-password system. The no-fee system also fights phishing by allowing customers to confirm that they are at the big bank’s site and not a spoofed site, by clicking on a SiteKey button that shows their secret image and phrase, the bank says. “We found this provides the right balance of added security and convenience. We found consumers did not want to have to get another device like a token to do their online banking,” bank spokeswoman Betty Riess told The Associated Press. Bank of America had been the target of two of the larger security breaches the industry has faced this year. In February, it said tapes containing personal information on 1.2 million federal employees had been lost, and in May, it and Wachovia said more than 100,000 customers may have been affected by a plot by bank employees to steal financial records in New Jersey.

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