The purpose of this literature is to identify whether Bio-metric technologies are capable of providing the secured way of identification and personal activities to overcome the security issues in the process of Internet banking in banks. This literature also discusses about the possible security threats which most affect the online banking and the progress of counter measures taken to overcome the security issues. The main aim of this research is to analyse the capability of Bio-metric technologies and also about the benefits of using Bio-metric technologies for the security purpose in Internet banking.


According to Aravind Duraiswamy (2009), traditional way of banking requires their customers to visit the banks every time even to perform their basic banking needs like checking their bank account balance. As the usage of Internet becomes popular banks came up with the concept of Internet banking where customers could perform most of the transactions from their homes or anywhere for that matter. The Internet banking application has features that help to meet most of the banking needs of a bank account holder over the internet.

A recent paper (Hisamatsu et al, 2010) mentioned that the concept of online banking started in the 1980’s and it first became available for client use in 1995. Since then, the number of banks offering online banking services as well as demand for the service has increased. In the UK alone, the number of people using online banking has increased by 174% in just 5 years from 2001 to 2006. In the US, 53 million people, or one out of every 4 adults, used online banking in 2005.

According to Lee (2008, p.130-141) However, despite the fact that online banking provides many advantages, such as faster transaction speed and lower handling fees, there are still a large group of customers who refuse to adopt such services due to uncertainty and security concerns.

Binshan et al. (2010) indicates that trust is the “heart of the system” for online banking. Thus, we can say that internet banking is susceptible to greater sense of insecurity than older banking services and thereby importance of trust is also relatively higher in adoption of internet banking. A review by Michal et al. (2009) mentions that, a high level of perceived risk is considered to be a barrier to propagation of new innovations. Influenced by the imagination-capturing stories of hackers, customers may fear that an unauthorized party will gain access to their online account and serious financial implications will follow.

Rise of Security Attacks in Internet Banking:

A paper (Zakaria et al, 2009) reported that information security means the protection of information and information systems from illegal and unauthorized access, use, destruction or modification of data or information. However at the same time, information security issues are considered as the major factors affecting the growth of online banking as the fraudulent activities are prominently increasing. Also it has been reported that one-third of account holders who had signed up for e-banking had stopped using it due to unsatisfactory security service or the complexity of using the service.

A review by Laerte et al. (2011) indicates that the number of malware and exploits focused on online banking systems vulnerabilities has been steadily growing during past years. Recent reports indicate that banking Trojans were among the 50 main security threats in 2009. While Brazil figures as the source and destination of most of those attacks performed in Latin America.

Rachwald (2008, p.11-12)argues that in the physical world attackers are limited by their ability to manipulate physical items like making an extra copy of your account number. In the online world attackers are essentially unlimited in the resources they can bring to bear.

A review by Francisco et al. (2010) mentions that, Banking is considered a highly dynamic business, even more so when price reductions or better conditions are offered to customers contracting services over the internet. However some groups of customers are reluctant to use such services. Regarding electronic commerce in general, consumers show more concern about the use of banking services when the amount of money potentially exposed to fraud is significantly larger, than with other types of services or organizations.

Various types of possible Security Attacks:

Most internet banking fraud occurs in a two-step process. First, the offender must get their hands on the customer’s account information, like their username and password. Second, the offender will use that information to move his victim’s money to another account or withdraw it to make fraudulent purchases, which can be found online (Internet Banking Fraud: Why is Online Banking so Popular, 2009).

These fraud schemes include,


Hossain et al. (2011) argues that, Phishing is a web-based attack that allures end users to visit fraudulent websites and give away personal information (e.g., user id, password). The stolen information is the beginning point of many illegitimate activities such as online money laundering. Phishing attacks cost billions of dollars in losses to business organizations and end users.

A recent paper (Pravin et al, 2011) argues that, although phishing is a simple social engineering attack, it has proven to be surprisingly effective. Hence, the number of phishing scams is continuing to grow, and the cost of the resulting damages is increasing. One of the main reasons why phishing attacks are possible is because mails can be spoofed easily.

Butler (2007, p.517-533) found that a White Paper on Phishing explains that use of the term “phishing” originates in the term “password harvesting fishing”. Phishing attacks are popular, as they are relatively inexpensive to launch, while the potential returns for the phisher could be significant. Phishers succeed in their attacks as consumers are not adequately informed about the risks of disclosing their personal details.

A review by Gerald et al. (2008) indicates that the term ‘phishing’ has its origins from the analogy that identity thieves are using lures usually in the form of e-mails to ‘fish’ for passwords and financial data from the ‘sea’ of Internet users. As users are getting more aware of the modus operandi of phishing attacks over the Internet, identity thieves are taking measures to deceive the public and to continue harvesting stolen identities online. A variant of phishing that is yielding potent results to these perpetrators is spear-phishing which is more targeted and specific if compared to its predecessor.

A review by Petr et al. (2010) mentions that in the Phishing kind of attack, the attacker tries to obtain victims private information like credit card number, passwords or account numbers. It is based on sending bogus e-mails, which pretend to be an official request from victim’s bank or any other similar institution. These e-mails requests to insert victim’s private information on referenced page. This page looks similar to official internet banking and the user fills in all requested fields in good faith that all his information will be safe, which leads to the compromising of all of his information.

Malware, Botnets and DDoS Attacks:

According to Wajeb et al. (2011) nowadays, there is a huge variety of cyber threats that can be quite dangerous not only for big companies but also for an ordinary user, who can be a potential victim for cybercriminals when using unsafe system for entering confidential data, such as login, password, credit card numbers, etc. Among popular computer threats it is possible to distinguish several types depending on the means and ways they are realized. They are: malicious software (malware), DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial-of-Service), botnets.

Shrutiet al. (2010) argues that Botnets are the network compromised machines under the control of a human operator. Using botnet attacker can perform various attacks like distributed denial of service (DDoS), email spamming, key logging, click fraud etc. DDoS attack is used to perform overloading in a network or system, so that an authorized user cannot use the service.

Starting a distributed denial of service attack needs a whole bunch of machines. According to various sources, it’s very easy to compromise a computer. As soon as a computer is compromised it can be used to engage in malignant activities. A so called “Bot” is created. One bot as itself cannot be very harmful but as a user gathers a collection of bots and binds them together, the user is creating a “BotNet” which has a much high bandwidth capability. The communication between the bots is using a specific control channel which is owned by the bot herder or bot master (Burkhard et al., 2011, p.22).

Malware infects PCs, waits for the user to log onto a list of targeted banks and financial institutions, and then steals their credentials which are sent to a remote server in real time (Gendron, 2010).

A recent paper (Shih-Yao et al., 2009) indicates that malware is designed specifically to expose confidential information, such as system data, confidential files and documents, or logon credentials that are stored on the infected computer. With the widespread use of online shopping and Internet banking, the compromises of this nature results in significant financial loss, particularly if credit card information or banking details are exposed.


Online banking customers are being targeted by international cyber criminals who are using sophisticated computer viruses to empty their accounts. A new version of a well-known Trojan virus has stolen ?675,000 from about 3,000 online customers of an unnamed British bank, according to an internet security company (Griffiths and Harvey, 2010). The cash has been remotely transferred out of the accounts, held by businesses and individuals.

The virus checks to see how much money is in the accounts, steals it and shows the customer fake bank balances to cover its tracks, the company said. It uncovered the scale of the theft after penetrating the criminals’ command-and-control server, which is based in Eastern Europe. The company said that it had informed the financial institution concerned and the police two weeks ago and the attack appeared to be continuing. Zeus v3 is one of a new wave of viruses that often invade consumers’ machines when they visit legitimate websites, in what is termed a “drive-by” infection (Griffiths and Harvey, 2010).

Burton (2008) identified a Trojan virus labelled SilentBanker. SilentBanker is aptly named because this virus embeds itself on home computers after users have visited random websites and it has the ability to redirect money from customer’s accounts during a normal Internet banking session, all without any outward signs that a virus is at work. And most worrisome of all is that the usual indicators of a secure website; the locked padlock symbol and the letter “s” in a website address (https :), no longer guarantee that a website is secured.

Spyware and Adware:

Clutterbuck (2010) highlighted that, Spyware has been described as a software paradigm designed to illicitly collect and distribute targeted consumer information. “It is difficult to define spyware with precision. The working definition proposed … was software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and which may send such information to another entity without the consumer’s consent, or asserts control over a computer without the consumer’s knowledge.”

In the analysis of Aycock (2010, pp.2) Adware can be considered a somewhat less harmful and usually more obvious form of Spyware. Spyware is covert; adware is overt. Just as for Spyware, there are behaviours that could be thought of as being characteristic of adware.

Janice et al. (2008) defines Adware, a type of spyware, delivers specific advertisements and offerings, customized for individual users as they browse the web. These advertisements can take the form of pop-up or pop-under ads, web banners, redirected webpages, and spam e-mail. Some adware however, may alter a homepage by hijacking a web browser, or add URLs to bookmarks, to persistently present a competitor’s website or a look-alike site, disallowing the user web access for his own purposes.

According to Janice et al. (2008) personal information such as financial data, passwords, and identification-tagged downloads can be transmitted, without the user’s knowledge or consent, to the spyware author or third-party sites. These sites can “phish” for data from user inputs while surfing, banking, and making purchases. The data could then be used to promote gambling, pornography, or fraudulent schemes, such as identity theft, to unsuspecting users.

Insider Attacks:

(Hui et al., 2010) defines insider and insider threat as “An insider is a current or former employee, a contractor or a business partner who has or had authorized access and intentionally exceeded that access in a manner that negatively affected the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the organization’s information or information systems’.

Fyffe (2008, p.11-14) argues that, In response to the increase in data breaches and the need to monitor and prevent attacks at every level, security professionals are proactively seeking ways to combat the insider threat. Despite this increased focus, internal attacks remain difficult to prevent. The motivation of those behind the breaches can be difficult to identify and the perpetrators often hide in plain sight. In many cases, insider attacks are premeditated and deliberate, but organisations must also recognise that non-malicious insiders can inadvertently access and distribute sensitive information.

Existing counter measures and why they are not effective:

(Paget, 2009) argues that financial fraud often starts with the diversion of personal information. A trash or recycling bin, a telephone conversation, or a poorly protected computer can be the starting point for fraud. Businesses are often vulnerable as well. Stolen laptops and data loss can lead to lasting damage to its brand image and heavy financial consequences for the company itself or its customers. In this respect, banks find themselves on the front line. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the chance of becoming a victim of identity theft, individuals can effectively reduce their risk by following some commonsense recommendations.

Anti-Phishing Counter measure:

A recent paper (Abdullah and Malcolm, 2009) indicates that there have been different proposed anti-Phishing solutions to mitigate the problem of Phishing. Security toolbars have been used to prevent Phishing attacks such as SpoofStick. There are also anti-Phishing approaches that make users aware of Phishing emails and websites and how to avoid them. The most basic approach is publishing guidelines for the Internet users to follow when they go online.

According to (Abdullah and Malcolm, 2009) Anti-Phishing training will make the end-user aware and it will erect an effective barrier against Phishing attempts. Anti-Phishing awareness was shown to have a great positive effect in mitigating the risk of Phishing. There is a variety of anti-Phishing training approaches to make users aware of Phishing emails and websites and to learn how to avoid them.

People are vulnerable to phishing attacks because spoofed websites look very similar to legitimate websites. People have trouble identifying phishing sites even in tests in which they have been alerted about the possibility of such attacks. Furthermore, when phishers personalize their emails, they can further increase the likelihood that the attack will be successful. Researchers have developed several technical approaches to countering phishing attacks, including toolbars, email filters, and verified sender addresses. However, these approaches are not foolproof. In a recent study of 10 anti-phishing tools, only one tool was able to correctly identify over 90% of phishing websites, and that tool also incorrectly identified 42% of legitimate websites as fraudulent. Furthermore, while automated phishing detection is improving, phishers continuously adapt their attack techniques to improve their chances of success (Johnny, 2007).

According to (Cranor, 2008) with so much of money at stake, the computer security community has been scrambling to develop tech­nologies to combat phishing, such as filters for e-mail and Web browsers that flag phishing at­tempts. Although such software has helped stop many attacks, phishers are constantly evolving their tactics to try to stay a step ahead of such technologies. Since phishing plays on human vul­nerabilities, a successful attack requires a victim to succumb to the lure and take some action and it is also not strictly a technological problem.

A review by Ponnurangam et al. (2010) indicates that most anti-phishing research has focused on solving the problem by eliminating the threat or warning users. However, little work has been done on educating people about phishing and other semantic attacks. Educating users about security is challenging, particularly in the context of phishing, because users are not motivated to read about security in general and therefore do not take time to educate themselves about phishing for most users, security is a secondary task (e.g. one does not go to an online banking website to check the SSL implementation of the website, but rather to perform a banking transaction) and it is difficult to teach people to make the right online trust decision.

Malware, Botnets and DDoS Counter Measures:

Traditional ways of counter-measuring botnets is generally restricted to spotting a central weak point in their infrastructure that can be manipulated, disrupted or blocked. The most common way is to cooperate with an Internet service provider to gain access and shut down the central component, resulting in a loss of control for the botnet owner: The botnet cannot be commanded anymore. Such actions are often performed during emergency response to an ongoing incident like a DDoS attack (Felix et al., 2009).

According to (Felix et al., 2009) the most promising approach is to remove the base of a botnet, which is the C&C server. Pulling the plug of the command-and-control host allows to extinguish the whole botnet in one go. Unfortunately this is only possible if all of the following conditions are met:

1. The botnet uses a centralized structure

2. The location of the C&C server is known

3. The provider cooperates

If any one of those conditions is not met, the C&C server cannot be removed.

A review by Muththolib et al. (2010) mentions that Static Passwords, also the most common type of authentication method used in e-banking websites. It is based on proof knowledge. This type of mechanisms is prone to all type of attacks and usually attacks like capture, replay, guessing or phishing are common and effective attacks. Soft-token Certificate/SSL-TLS,this mechanism conducts mutual authentication between the user terminal and internet banking server, based on the certificates stored on the user’s web browser. The mechanism is prone to malicious software attacks such as key logger screen captures and also allows access to the user’s certificate stored on the browser which would also result in identity theft Muththolib et al. (2010). Hard-token Certificate/SSL-TLS:in this mechanism it uses a token for the authentication process. This mechanism is prone to token attack tools, malicious software attacks and also these tokens can be stolen. One-time Password/Time-based Code Generator: in this mechanism a one-time password is generated by a random calculator, using a seed that is pre shared between a PIN protected user’s device and the Internet Banking Server. This mechanism is also prone to number of attacks including device theft.

Viruses, Spyware and Adware Counter Measures:

(Miko, 2010) argues that using trusted HW deviceslikeHW calculators, HW password generators, smart cardreaders, mobile phonewill help to block the viruses. Assume that the computer is under attacker control (e.g. via Trojan Horse). Using alternate channel (OOB – out of band) SMS messages, phone calls will help to overcome from the attack. Assume that all the communication computer -Internet is under attacker control.

According to (Kishore, 2009) to protect the systems against Trojan horses, users should use virus scanners and be careful with downloaded software or e?mail attachments. However usage of one-time passwords (OTP) solves only credential stealing and the confirmation codes are not linked with authorising transaction which made more vulnerable to the viruses.


Finally, from the above discussions we can understand that the bank industries faces an enormous growth with the help of Internet banking facilities and also we can realize that how Internet banking becomes a negative aspect for the banking industry in the means of security issues which cannot be able to completely prevented with the use of existing counter measures. In the next step we can find out and analyse whether Bio-Metric technology is capable of providing a secured way of authentication in Internet banking to overcome the security threats.


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, 2009; Abdullah Alnajim, 2009b; a; Aravind Duraiswamy, 2009; Felix Leder, 2009; Kishore, 2009; Paget, 2009; Shih-Yao Dai, 2009; Zakaria Karim, 2009; Michal Polasik, 2009

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