Professor Basie Von Solms, Director of the Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Johannesburg, has advised online banking users who do not regularly need to create new beneficiaries to block the functionality on their accounts.
If the bank refuses to remove the ability to create new beneficiaries, Von Solms suggested changing your mobile number to a fake number which does not exist, like 082 000 0000.
Von Solms said a one-time PIN (OTP) is needed to create a new beneficiary for an online banking account.
With a fake cellphone number, it is impossible for the bank to deliver an OTP, which means it is impossible for anyone to create a new beneficiary on that account.
To create a new beneficiary, the user will have to go into the bank. This, he said, is more secure than using the online system with an OTP.
He said this intervention is only for users who have a list of beneficiaries which does not change often.
Comment from South African banks
MyBroadband asked ABSA, FNB, Standard Bank, and Nedbank for comment regarding Von Solms’ advice. Their feedback is listed below.
- ABSA: No Comment
- FNB: No Comment
- Standard Bank: No Comment
- Nedbank: As a responsible bank, Nedbank urges clients to contact the bank for any queries or concerns relating to their online banking. We have a number of solutions and options that can assist clients in safeguarding themselves while transacting online and implementing advice from third parties may potentially negatively impact on their security.