In a world of phishermen, con artists, scoundrels, and cheats, many companies have had to step up their security game. One such company, Bank of America, has done just that by deploying a new, opt-in security feature – SafePass. The purpose of this new feature is to provide an extra layer of protection against unauthorized transactions. So, how does this work? What is SafePass? Glad you asked. Basically, Bank of America members sign into the first security page of their online bank account and request an encrypted 6 digit number to be delivered to their cell phone with a click of a button. After receiving the 6 digit code, the user only has a short amount of time before the code becomes invalid (another security measure) and must enter the code to get to the second security page, where the user enters their personal banking passcode to gain access to his or her bank account(s). Once the code has been entered, it can not be used again.
While this feature is really cool and a step in the right direction, I have determined that there might be some potential problems for those who opt-in for this added security feature. If your cell phone is not accessible when you when you decide to check your accounts to see if you have the funds to afford that brand new MacBook Pro, you will have to locate your phone before you can get started. Oops, what happens if you have no signal? Or if your battery is drained? Or if you drop your phone in a steaming cup of coffee? (o.k. that one is reaching, I know, but it could happen) I am sure you can see where I am going with this. Essentially, the health and proximity of your cell phone determines if you will be able to gain access to your accounts. If for some reason your cell phone is not functioning, broken or stolen you can call Bank of America and by answering several security questions can have the opt-in SafePass service removed from your online account. Even with these potential annoyances, I still think this is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, if you know that you desire additional security features, such as SafePass, then you must accept the responsibility that comes with it. This means keep your phone near, in a strong signal area, charged, and out of your coffee.
In conclusion, I am glad to see the companies are going to these measures to protect their customers. It is also nice to see the cell phone being used not only for entertainment purposes (ringtones, downloads, etc) but also, for security measures.
That’s All I Got,