Four in ten of those using internet banking or stockbroking services use easily guessed passwords ac...
Four in ten of those using internet banking or stockbroking services use easily guessed passwords according to research commissioned by the FSA.
But the financial watchdog says consumers can help ensure internet transactions are safe and secure by taking simple security precautions when using online financial services.
New pages on FSA's Consumer Help website, designed to give advice on how to get maximum benefit from the opportunities offered by the internet, say passwords such as names, birthdays or the word "password" should be avoided.
Consumers should also ensure they know who they are dealing with and check for a secure connection. Passwords and PIN numbers should be used sensibly and personal computers should be protected from viruses.
FSA consumer director Christine Farnish says the internet offers services which can be quicker, easier and cheaper than existing channels of delivery.
"But with nearly one in ten Britons using the internet to carry out personal banking, it is vital that consumers are properly prepared and understand what they can do to address the risks involved," Farnish says.
Security tips for consumers using online financial services include trying to ensure passwords and log-in details are unique and not easily guessed. Passwords and security information should be memorised and not written down and passwords should not be stored on PCs. Sensitive information should not be accessed in a public place and users should check that they have logged on to a firm's genuine website.
Users should also check that the firm they are dealing with is authorised by calling the FSA Consumer Helpline of checking the central register direct.
In a discussion paper also released today, "The FSA's approach to the regulation of ecommerce", the FSA emphasises that internet security is a responsibility shared between firms and consumers, and sets out what consumers can do to help themselves.
Around one in 10 UK adults are already buying financial services over the internet and there are now more than 60 banks and 35 stockbrokers providing internet based services who are regulated by the FSA.
The paper is to form the basis of a regulatory framework. It is expected to result in firms and markets having adequate IT systems and controls to address the risks in their business, and consumers having access to guidance about obtaining financial services that shows them they have a responsibility to protect themselves.
FSA director Philip Robinson says it is vital that the regulatory framework helps firms and consumers take maximum advantage of the opportunities presented by e-channels.
The paper identifies a number of areas for further work. They include company's responsibility for IT risk management, the tips to consumers on FSA's website, and the use of digital signatures. There is also an analysis of whether a website address should be reserved for financial services firms and a report on the FSA's contribution to international regulatory initiatives.
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