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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Technology Credit Union has completed converting its entire base of active online bankers to a two-factor, two-way authentication system designed to assure the tech-savvy membership of their online security while meeting new federal guidelines. The $1.1 billion CU is one of the first financial institutions to use PassMark Security’s login system. About 30,000 of the CU’s 75,000 members use its online channel and were moved onto the new system as they began logging in on and after Nov. 16. That was only about a month after the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council issued its new guidelines on online authentication. While the guidance focused on risk management as a whole and didn’t dictate any particular path, the message was clear: Passwords and PINs are insufficient as the sole means of security and the FFIEC gave the nation’s provider of online financial services until the end of 2006 to strengthen the defenses. Tech CU didn’t wait. It turned to Silicon Valley security specialist PassMark for its two-factor authentication and anti-fraud filtering system, which works in part by remotely identifying individual computers as well as bolstering the member-facing login routine. Tech CU began the process by requiring all users to convert from the old four-digit password and member ID to alphanumeric user names and passwords. It accompanied the switchover with an active marketing campaign that included reminder screens and customizing instructional information as the process moved along. Each member also was given a secret PassMark, a small authentication image or phrase created by the member that then is shown at each login. The credit union says that assures members that they have not reached a “spoof” site and are at Tech CU’s legitimate Web site. They also don’t have to carry tokens cards or readers. The reaction has been good, the CU says. In an online survey, it asked members how they rated “the approach Tech CU is taking to improve online security?” Fifty-three percent of the respondents said “excellent” and 39% said “good,” the credit union says. “We are acutely aware of the large number of incidences of online fraud and identity theft and the inadequacy of password protection for online transactions,” says Mike Luckin, senior vice president of delivery systems for Tech CU (www.techcu.com.) “That’s why we chose to implement the program instead of waiting to learn from other institutions,” he says. -

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