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Financial Institution Letters

FFIEC Guidance
Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment
October 12, 2005

Summary: The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has issued the attached guidance, “Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment.” For banks offering Internet-based financial services, the guidance describes enhanced authentication methods that regulators expect banks to use when authenticating the identity of customers using the on-line products and services. Examiners will review this area to determine a financial institution’s progress in complying with this guidance during upcoming examinations. Financial Institutions will be expected to achieve compliance with the guidance no later than year-end 2006.

  • Financial institutions offering Internet-based products and services should use effective methods to authenticate the identity of customers using those products and services.
  • Single-factor authentication methodologies may not provide sufficient protection for Internet-based financial services.
  • The FFIEC agencies consider single-factor authentication, when used as the only control mechanism, to be inadequate for high-risk transactions involving access to customer information or the movement of funds to other parties.
  • Risk assessments should provide the basis for determining an effective authentication strategy according to the risks associated with the various products and services available to on-line customers.
  • Customer awareness and education should continue to be emphasized because they are effective deterrents to the on-line theft of assets and sensitive information.

FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

Suggested Routing:
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Information Security Officer

Related Topics:

  • FIL-66-2005, Guidance on Mitigating Risks From Spyware, issued July 22, 2005
  • FIL-64-2005, Guidance on How Financial Institutions Can Protect Against Pharming Attacks, issued July 18, 2005
  • FIL-27-2004, Guidance on Safeguarding Customers Against E-Mail and Internet Related Fraud, issued March 12, 2004
  • FFIEC Information Security Handbook, issued November 2003
  • Interagency Informational Brochure on Phishing Scams, contained in FIL-113-2004, issued September 13, 2004
  • Putting an End to Account- Hijacking Identity Theft, FDIC Study, issued December 14, 2004
  • FDIC Identity Theft Study Supplement on Account-Highjacking Identity Theft, issued June 17, 2005

FFIEC Guidance: Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment - PDF 163k (PDF Help)

Senior Policy Analyst Jeffrey Kopchik at jkopchik@fdic.gov or (202) 898-3872, or Senior Technology Specialist Robert D. Lee at rolee@fdic.gov or (202) 898-3688

Printable Format:
FIL-103-2005 - PDF 41k (PDF Help)

FDIC Financial Institution Letters (FILs) may be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2005/index.html.

To receive FILs electronically, please visit http://www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/fil.html.

Paper copies of FDIC FILs may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 801 17th Street, NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 20434 (1-877-275-3342 or (703) 562-2200).

Last Updated 10/12/2005 communications@fdic.gov

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