The Field Report with Tom Field

Customer Accountability: Where does it Start?

Customer Accountability: Where does it Start?

Prior to the launch of the blogs, we had a couple of interesting exchanges regarding our news articles, and I want to open up those topics for your response.

The first topic is about responsibility - accountability, really. At what point should a banking institution's customer be held accountable for basic computer security?

As you know, the British Bankers' Association recently announced its position that UK banks should no longer be responsible for losses suffered by online bank accounts if those customers do not have up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software installed on their machines.

Could such a notion fly in the U.S.? We raised that question, and among the responses we received:

"It's about time someone stood up and pointed out the elephant in the room."
"The problem is really training and awareness. How do you train the average citizen? If you make him or her too concerned about security, they will stop using their computers. That isn't in anyone's best interest."
"Making banks liable for customers' home computers makes as much sense as saying auto makers are responsible for everyone's speeding tickets."

Clearly, we touched a nerve. Subsequently, I spoke with one security vendor that's interested in partnering with banks to offer basic PC protection services free-of-charge to customers. Kind of like what my home internet service provider does now, offering me antivirus protection at no additional charge.

On one hand, this step does show that the business has made a conscientious effort to plug a major security hole.

But on the other, can't you see that first lawsuit filed by a breached customer saying "Hey, you gave me this stuff and said my PC was safe ...?"

Interesting debate - how much responsibility should the customer bear? Which side do you take?

About the Author

Tom Field

Tom Field

Senior Vice President, Editorial, ISMG

Field is responsible for all of ISMG's 28 global media properties and its team of journalists. He also helped to develop and lead ISMG's award-winning summit series that has brought together security practitioners and industry influencers from around the world, as well as ISMG's series of exclusive executive roundtables.

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