Irish Bank Looks to Baltimore for Security

Ireland’s Ulster Bank announced this week that Baltimore Technologies (London: BLM), a provider of e-commerce and enterprise security solutions, will be tapped to guarantee the confidentiality and integrity of Internet transactions for its new online banking service.

Anytime Internet banking service will implement Baltimore Technologies’ UniCERT, a Certificate Authority (CA) product that, according to the company, “issues and manages digital certificates for a wide range of applications, including e-mail, browsers and virtual private networks.” Additionally, Ulster Bank will be using J/CRYPTO and PKI-Plus cryptographic toolkits to secure its e-commerce applications.

Secure e-Banking “Anytime”

“The Anytime service will offer our customers an efficient, cost effective channel for conducting everyday banking transactions,” stated John McNally, Chief Executive at Ulster Bank Retail. “The security features of ‘Anytime’ banking will ensure that no one can tamper with customer transactions and that no one can forge their identity to access their account, building confidence and trust in the service.”

Working with both the bank’s small and medium business clients as well as its personal customers, the Anytime service will enable users to make payments, transfer funds and receive information services securely from their PCs.

“Ulster Bank recognized the benefits of moving business online and realized that without a security infrastructure this would not be feasible,” commented Aidan Gallagher, Executive Vice President of Global Business Development at Baltimore Technologies. According to Ulster Bank, “ease and transparency of use for the end user and ease of deployment and integration with new and legacy systems” were its primary considerations in choosing security technology.

Give Me Cryptography

PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) is a central component of the package, which utilizes the power of cryptography. However, the technology has sparked controversy in Europe and the United Kingdom.

The US and other countries — including the UK — fear that encryption products will be used by criminals or international terrorists to thwart or evade law enforcement and intelligence efforts. Data scrambling technologies, however, are required for the security and integrity of e-commerce transactions.

A Baltimore Technologies company statement insisted that “the security provided by the underlying cryptography will ensure that confidential information is not disclosed and that an accurate, reliable record of transactions is maintained.”

Cryptography — derived from the Greek words “kryptos,” meaning hidden, and “graphia,” for writing — is a means to scramble data by utilizing mathematical algorithms. Encryption technology encompasses a wide spectrum of sophistication and possible uses.

“By embracing PKI technology such as Baltimore UniCERT to build a business-focused security infrastructure for ‘Anytime,’ Ulster Bank is enhancing its service delivery while optimizing its relationship with its customers,” added Gallagher.

Ulster Bank, which operates out of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, maintains over 200 branch offices.

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