The blame for online banking insecurity is as much down to user ignorance as banking inadequacy, the FSA (Financial Services Authority) has argued.

In its Financial Risk Outlook 2006, published this week, the authority identified several groups of banking customers that it says present the greatest security problems.

These included a hard-core five percent of users who take no security precautions whatsoever when using banking websites, and a further 21 percent who think it unlikely that criminals could access their accounts without the user knowingly having supplied the login. Overall, the FSA found that the young tend to be less security-conscious.

A surprisingly high 45 percent of customers surveyed believe that banks should take sole responsibility for online security. If the banks attempted to move all liability for online banking losses to customers, 77 percent say they would abandon internet banking completely.

"Most consumers recognise that they have some responsibility for security but they are not necessarily following this obligation through," said FSA spokesman Philip Robinson. The authority’s report makes only veiled criticism of banks themselves.

"To tackle the losses associated with fraud, banks should continue to drive security, and this must include educating consumers on the importance of protecting themselves," continued Robinson. "Banks need to look carefully at consumer attitudes and whether their initiatives are effective in maintaining confidence."

Banks have in the past been criticised for doing little more than dabbling with partial solutions to the online banking, such as the often-cited two-factor authentication.

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