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Online Security: How Do EU Banks Rank?

Not all online banks' security was created equal, according to new research.

An investigation examining visible security measures across 10 online banking sites found big differences between the companies.

The investigation by consumer information company Which? Computing looked at various indicators of how strong the banks' visible security was, including whether an online account could be accessed on two different computers at the same time; whether a user would be logged out from their account if they navigated to another site and if users were asked to enter personal information in full—making them potentially vulnerable to keylogging—rather than using dropdown menus or entering parts of the information in question.

Of the 10 banks and building societies surveyed, Barclays' security was rated the best by Which? Computing, while Abbey and Halifax were given the wooden spoon for their poor security. The former only has "basic security with no controls to stop money transfer" while the latter asks for three pieces of information to be typed out in full, the report said.

"We found that the online accounts of Abbey and Halifax have weaker visible measures in place than their rivals. The banks say it's the hidden security measures that count, but to have real confidence in your online account, it's important to see security in place," the Which? Computing report added.

It found the security at First Direct, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland was "good" while that at Alliance and Leicester and HSBC was deemed "poor".

According to payments industry body Apacs, online banking fraud is on the rise reaching £52.5m last year—more than double 2007's £22.6m figure.

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