Software integration clamps e-fraud: NAB

Internet-based attacks tend to be sporadic

Establishing a specialist anti-fraud working group, combined with customizable software, has kept fraud levels down at the National Australia Bank, which claims to have experienced fewer phishing attacks than its competitors during the past six months.

Head of the NAB's consumer banking fraud division Brett Small told Computerworld banks have traditionally monitored credit and debit cards for fraud, but in recent years the proliferation of online banking has resulted in increased security threats from international crime syndicates.

Small said transactions at the bank are monitored for fraud risk and newer techniques like phishing, malware, and social engineering techniques tend to be more specific to e-fraud.

To combat this expanding threat, the NAB has built up its anti-fraud capabilities over the past decade with the goal of detecting as much fraud as possible without impacting customer interaction.

The first big step was the implementation of the Proactive Risk Manager (PRM) enterprise transaction monitoring platform about eight years ago from vendor ACI Worldwide.

"PRM plays a core role in our fraud prevention effort as we get a replica of banking transactions through PRM and are able to write targeted and more general behavioural profiling rules to detect fraud," Small said. "PRM provides a real-time transaction feed and allows us to store a lot of historic data to see how customers behave and trace where compromises may have occurred."

PRM is a Java WebSphere application running on Windows Server and has a "flexible rule engine" that combined with an advanced neural network differentiates it from competing products.

In addition to PRM's fraud detection capability, Small is running several analytic tools "behind the scenes", including a SAS BI server, and SQL Server 2005.

The bank's fraud data warehouse integrates information from PRM, CRM and other enterprise systems, Internet banking, and authentication systems.

Central data repositories are housed in Teradata and Oracle databases.

"Having access to those allows in-depth analysis," Small said. "We do detailed analytics on the performance of PRM to identify trends, patterns and emerging threats. We also run packages and scripts that generate reports which are e-mailed to internal and external stakeholders. We also do some ASP and PHP development for data capture, and workflow that ties into PRM."

Like the bank's technology risk and security team, the fraud prevention division is proactive in contributing improvements back to its software vendors.

Small said NAB has contributed a significant number of improvements to PRM which is used by institutions globally - both technology and ideas.

"In the newest version of PRM there are probably between 30 and 50 contributions," Small said. "We have also customized the way the tool detects e-fraud to identify exceptions to a customer's normal footprint when they log onto internet banking."

NAB's fraud prevention processes are now "quite streamlined" and there is a good governance layer across all forms of customer interaction.

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