patco vs ocean bank vs reasonable security

Brian Krebs has an article up on the case of Patco vs Ocean Bank. The implications of this case could have important industry ramifications as the key point of contention is what technically constitutes “good enough” security from the bank’s perspective.

I don’t suggest reading too many of the comments. This is a very delicate and not-clear situation, which many commentors don’t seem to grasp very well. While some of the angst may center on whether the bank really had 2-factor authentication or possibly the out-dated guidance from teh FFIEC.

Side note 1: I’ve not read the actual case file, but from Brain’s article, I’d say Ocean Bank isn’t using 2-factor authentication.

Side note 2: Always asking security questions on every transaction reduces the security value? Actually, sort of, when your attackers are employing keyloggers and you normally don’t have transfers that trigger the asking of those questions. Then again, any attacker who runs into those barriers will just keep lowering their transfer amount until they’re under the threshold. Hopefully that would trigger some fraud alerts…

Site note 3: At some point consumers (business) need to put their own diligence in doing their banking on trusted systems. If you hire a courier or some other proxy to run to the bank and make transfers for you, if that person ends up skipping town with extra money because they inflated the transfer amount and sent it to themselves, do you blame the bank or your own hiring practices/trust? In this way, computers are a sort of proxy, granted, a proxy that answers to anyone with the right handshake, so to speak…

Site note 3a: Unlike the “simple” maintenance and safety and security of a car or other vehicle, the care and safety and security of a computer system or network is still going to be far above the head of most consumers and workers. Telling people they need to put forth their own effort in maintaining a trusted computing platform is often going to be met with tears of anguish and outrage…as they then turn their eyes to app/OS vendors and their security track records…or to the government’s lack of “internet jurisdiction” in keeping foreign attackers out or at least under threat of arrest..and on and on.

Site note 3b: All of this ends up raising questions of what is reasonable in a highly-technical globally-connected digital world? I’m not sure anyone will ever be happy with where the decisions fall in such a discussion.