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Aussie Net Banking Shocker 19 February 2002 Edition
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Here in New Zealand we're pretty lucky when it comes to online banking.

There have been very few security related incidents (that we know about) and Kiwis seem to have flocked to online banking in droves, clearly indicating that they're happy with the levels of service and security on offer.

Unfortunately our cousins across the Tasman don't seem to have it quite so good -- or perhaps they're just not quite as good at hushing up major gaffes.

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Over the past 12 months or so I've noticed that problems with Australian online banking systems seem to have been disproportionately represented in the Aussie IT press -- so today I went back and had a look through the Aardvark archives to see just how bad it was.

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    Unfortunately, a fair number of the stories I've linked to over the past 12 months have been aged off the news-sites carrying them so what I've included below represents just a fragment of all the bad-news that's been reported.

    Here are links to the stories which are still accessible:

    What's wrong with the Aussie online banking industry that it gets so much bad press?

    Is their security as lax as would seem? Is it perhaps that Aussie banks are using Microsoft software? (just kidding).

    Should we Kiwis be worried that perhaps things are just as bad here? Could it be we're simply not being told about the hacks, cracks and holes?

    I know of one potential security hole that occurred very early on in the evolution of online banking here in NZ that never made the news. Even I didn't report it because I was instrumental in bringing it to the attention of the bank involved (sometimes wearing more than one hat is a curse :-)

    Whatever the cause, I think Australians should be bitching madly about this lacklustre performance.

    But Some Aussies Are Smart
    It's good to see that even though their banks may be a little behind the eight-ball when it comes to security and service levels, at least the Aussies seem to be getting their act together when it comes to spam.

    While our own legislators appear completely disinterested in the issue of spam (or more accurately: unsolicited commercial email (UCE)), Australia's Federal Government is now taking a close look at introducing laws to make it illegal.

    Perhaps someone could inform Mr Swain that it's no good guaranteeing all Kiwis a set minimum amount of bandwidth if an increasing amount of that bandwidth is going to be clogged up with spam.

    While local spammers are few and far between, it would certainly pay our legislators to look at forging ties with other countries such as the USA and Australia with a view to introducing reciprocal legislation that might simplify the task of whacking spammers who send their garbage across national borders.

    If Australia goes ahead and outlaws spam then, at the very least, we ought to organise a treaty that would see the same laws enforceable on both sides of the Tasman.

    There are numerous reports which indicate that the spam problem is going to get a lot worse unless some firm action is taken by legislators. Why wait until the tide totally overwhelms us? let's get the matter sorted now!

    What do you think? Should NZ's parliament enact anti-spam legislation or are there more important things it should be spending its time on?

    Have your say

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    Security Alerts
    MS server bugs open the door to hackers (ZDNet - 12/02/2002)

    IE bug allows full MSN Messenger hijack (TheRegister - 9/02/2002)

    Mac Office vulnerable, Microsoft warns (AAP - 07/02/2002)

    BlackIce Firewalls Vulnerable To DOS Attack NewsBytes - 6/02/2002)

    MIRC Chat Users Vulnerable To New Attack (NewsBytes - 4/02/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    New MSN Messenger Worm (NewsBytes - 14/02/2002)

    Klez worm reborn as nastier version (ZDNet - 13/02/2002)

    Gigger worm can format Windows PCs (The Reg - 11/01/2002)

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