UBS to deploy IBM secure banking USB device

The device ensures that a man-in-the-middle attack isn't under way during a transaction

Banking giant UBS has started deploying a device from IBM that ensures online banking transactions aren't being interfered with by hackers.

IBM's ZTIC (Zone Trusted Information Channel) is a smart-card reader that attaches to computer via a USB cable. During an online banking transaction, it bypasses the Web browser and makes a direct SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection with the bank.

With that access, the ZTIC is able to show a banking customer what will actually happen during a transaction even if the computer is infected with malicious software.

The ZTIC is designed to thwart man-in-the-middle attacks, where a hacker interferes with a transaction in real time and modifies data.

For example, it can allow a hacker to transfer $9,000 to a third-party account while showing the victim the amount they intended to transfer to the correct account.

UBS published a video of their implementation of the ZTIC, which the bank has dubbed the "UBS Access Key." Once connected, a customer inserts an access card into the ZTIC and enters a PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the UBS Web site. When the customer has filled out a beneficiary for payment, the ZTIC will display the target account number on its screen.

If the transaction has been hacked and the account number is different, the customer can abort the payment by hitting a red "x," or a green check if it's fine.

UBS chose the ZTIC for use primarily with corporate customers setting up new payment beneficiaries in their online banking system, according to a bank spokesman. Those corporate customers will get the ZTIC for free, UBS said.

It is also available to retail customers but they will have to pay 65 Swiss francs (US$60). UBS has about 100,000 corporate and 550,000 retail e-banking clients.

The technology that is in the ZTIC has been around for a while, but IBM is the first company to get a major bank to deploy it, which is significant, said Avivah Litan, a vice president at Gartner.

As criminals have found ways to defeat strong authentication methods such as one-time passwords, "locked-down" computing -- which aims to seal off banking sessions from malware interference -- is gaining traction, she said.

"The concept and architecture makes a lot of sense, if it [ZTIC] works as advertised," Litan said. "I'm sure some vulnerabilities will become apparent as the ZTIC technology is rolled out, but these will be much more limited by nature of the architecture than the ones that are present in the desktop computing environment."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBMsmartcardsecurityUBSSSL

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?