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Case Study:
Metrobank



The Anti-Phishing Security Initiative conducted by CNS for Metro Bank supports the bank’s aim to offer a better user experience in retail banking. 

With this Initiative, Metro Bank is not just considering the security of its customers’ financial data, it is addressing a problem which affects people who are not its customers, nor likely to be (often non-UK residents). Metro Bank is rejecting traditional, low levels of customer service in retail banking and taking a similar approach to major retailers, such as Marks & Spencers. Metro Bank has achieved discreet but effective online security and is also protecting the new bank’s corporate reputation.

CNS has created a new anti-phishing 24/7 service to respond to Metro Bank’s aim. Rather than putting an automated, but ineffective, process in place.

CNS’s consultants engage directly with ISPs and have consequently had significant success. CNS uses its high-experienced consultants to communicate with ISPs, in French if necessary, work out their needs, meet them and ultimately get the fake sites taken down from the internet quickly.

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Client Overview

Situation Banks have always needed to be secure, from the old days of vaults and steel rooms to the online services we now all expect. Metro Bank, established in the wake of the financial crises and the first new High Street bank in over 100 years, is serious about its approach to security and phishing in particular. For a new bank promising to revolutionise retail banking, security is important and demonstrates to customers and prospects that Metro Bank takes good customer service seriously, but without compromising the user experience. 

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Key Business Benefits

  • 20 Fake website take downs per week.
  • Increased brand and customer confidence and assurance.
  • Reduced risk of threat and fraud
  • Integration with internal helpdesk and heightened awareness by internal staff
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The Challenge

Metro Bank takes a customer-centric approach to branch security; there are no glass barriers between customers and bank staff for example. The bank wanted its online security to be equally discreet, but nonetheless vigilant and effective. CNS recognises that heavy-handed online security controls can be detrimental, as users find a way round time-consuming processes.

The challenge for CNS therefore, is to monitor and respond to phishing attacks and fake websites, addressing the root of the problem by ensuring that ISPs take down the sites.

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The Solution

CNS sees that phishing attacks have become more sophisticated in recent years, whilst the skills needed to perform them have decreased because of automation. It is not difficult to access the code or find someone with the capability to exploit the poor usability of current web security technologies.  In addition, the sites are often broken-up and located on multiple servers; in effect, fraudsters are now building redundant systems, in the same way that a bank would. Whilst SOCA may prefer to catch ten coders rather than 1000 fraudsters, CNS and Metro Bank were concentrating on removing fake sites as they appeared, to prevent fraud from occurring and to protect not only the new bank’s corporate reputation and customers, but also the wider online community.

Given the increasing regularity of phishing attacks and the reluctance of ISPs to involve themselves in the removal of fake sites, CNS established a new anti-phishing service to deliver Metro Bank’s Security Initiative, with the focus on direct interaction with ISPs, rather than an automated response.

“we spent time in Metro Bank’s call centre getting a good understanding of the business and the types of phishing scams they were experiencing. This lead to the development of our anti-phishing service; a team which is on call 24/7 to respond to attacks. Rather than being a function of the bank’s security team, we operate as an integrated department, so anyone in the bank can contact us and we deal with it. It makes the process lightweight, but effective consultants are familiar with technology, but also the ways it can be exploited. We believe that online security is no longer about automated tools, but real people responding efficiently”. Kevin Dowd, CEO, CNS.

CNS consultants are able to secure the removal of these sites by the ISPs because of their long experience in the sector. CNS makes it easy for the ISP to take down the site by providing everything they need to prove that it is fake. The company identifies the malicious sites’ ISP from the source IP, discusses the problem with the ISP and provides a CNS evidence pack to prove that the site is fake and its owners fraudulent. ISPs are notorious for not responding to these sorts of requests, but CNS consultants work with their counterparts at the ISP until they find a way.

CNS has created a new anti-phishing 24/7 service to respond to Metro Bank’s aim. Rather than putting an automated, but ineffective, process in place, 

CNS has created a new anti-phishing 24/7 service to respond to Metro Bank’s aim. Rather than putting an automated, but ineffective, process in place, 

“We believe that all banks should do what they can to eliminate fraud connected to their brands. Our call centre has reported phishing scams and CNS has eliminated them all. This combination of call centre involvement and experienced technology consultants has proved highly effective in ensuring Metro Bank presents a robustly secure image to the world.”  Technical Manager, Metro Bank


CNS’s anti-phishing team manage a very straight-forward process which involves:

1. Analysis of the threat

2. Tracing of site owners

3. Evidence pack which meets the requirements of ISPs. This usually includes:

  • Screen shot of the malicious site
  • Link to legitimate site
  • Tracing & registration information

4. Removal of the fake site by the ISP

Result 

The Ant-Phishing Security Initiative run by CNS has enabled Metro Bank to maintain its corporate profile and its retail, rather than banking, levels of customer satisfaction. Metro Bank has been able to establish a reputation for ruthlessly removing fake sites and protecting its image. Since the Security Initiative’s inception, CNS dealt with up to 20 fake websites and phishing attacks a week. 

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