The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

20 years of online banking

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Just a note of historical signifance. It was 20 years ago at BMO we launched mbanx, which was the first online banking site.

Written by Colin Henderson

October 16, 2016 at 22:56

Posted in Uncategorized

DDoS attacks at unprecedented levels hit Krebs

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DDoS attacks are little understood by most, yet pose a significant threat to our online lifestyle.

Brian Krebs is an independent journalist who has singlehandedly sought out bad actors performing security attacks varying from online ransomeware to Mexican ABM card skimming. has been hit over the last couole of days with DDoS on a scale that he indicates is unprecedented. The scale is over 600Gb per second – this in comparison to previous large attacks in the 200 Gb range. Furthermore the methods used indicate botnet leveraging of applicances previously never considered. These include personal home routers, which have never changed their default username/password combinations (admin/admin etc).

The scale is such that Akamai who had previously offerred free support, have backed off that free support.

The attacks against Krebs are personal it would appear based on the detective work he has performed. The scary part is just that. By only going after him now suggests the bad actors always could and just didn’t bother until now.

Ars Technica

The crippling distributed denial-of-service attacks started shortly after Krebs published stories stemming from the hack of a DDoS-for-hire service known as vDOS. The first article analyzed leaked data that identified some of the previously anonymous people closely tied to vDOS. It documented how they took in more than $600,000 in two years by knocking other sites offline. A few days later, Krebs ran a follow-up piece detailing the arrests of two men who allegedly ran the service. A third post in the series is here.

Written by Colin Henderson

September 25, 2016 at 00:05

Posted in Uncategorized

The Tragically Hip farewell concert in Kingston brings Canada to a standstill

Few outside Ontario Canada know about this.  I watched as the national broadcaster CBC showed it ad free.  This was up there with the <a href=””>Cream farewell at the Albert Hall</a>.

I admit to not even being a Hip fan.  They just were not that big in western Canada where I spent my early time.  But somehow they were always there, and the music is in your bones if you lived in Canada.

Gord Downie is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and that does make this an actual farewell.

btw, The Hip, aka Downie lyrics, are the only band that will require access to wikipedia to know what the hell he is talking about.  Brilliant !!


Canada, yes the entire country, stood still and put even the Olympics aside for a moment.

The secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse

When the appearance of conflict meets the appearance of force

But I can guarantee, there’ll be no knock on the door

I’m total pro here, that’s what I’m here for

I come from downtown, born ready for you

Armed with skill and it’s frustration, and grace, too

Written by Colin Henderson

August 20, 2016 at 23:37

Posted in Uncategorized

Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex customers lose 120K BTC

Bitcoin reporting continues to be as vague as the average persons understanding of Blockchain. Nonetheless this loss will be closely followed. The last big loss was 2 years~ ago at MtGox in Japan, and that resulted in the exchange being shut down.

Following MtGox closing in bankruptcy, here are the reasons according to Wired:

But on the inside, according to some who were there, Mt. Gox was a messy combination of poor management, neglect, and raw inexperience.

So Coindesk are doing no-one any favours by attempting to deflect the Bitfinex loss with a mid article shift to a discussion about Bitcoin mining activity and that effect on Bitcoin prices. Interesting but not the point.

The issue is security of the Blockchain and why this new loss occurred, apparently related to social media, but with no details. Maybe this loss is something to do with phishing or someone using the same password across multiple sites. Whatever the cause it is important to elaborate very quickly if confidence in Blockchain activities is to be established. This quote hidden in the Coindesk article is critical.

Market observer and trader Jacob Eliosoff provided similar input, telling CoinDesk that the event had sparked a new wave of uncertainty.

“The big question will be how much was stolen and whether Bitfinex will make customers whole,” he said.

No-one loses money with online investing with their bank and there is a reason for that. Blockchain has many advantages, but confidence will always come back to the institution involved, and not the encryption methodology; this is entirely due to the human component, which is an unfortunate reality.

Written by Colin Henderson

August 3, 2016 at 00:35

Posted in Uncategorized

Bank customers move from online banking to mobile apps

The ongoing demise of online banking and its replacement by mobile banking continues. These statistics overshadow the almost 50% reduction trend in branch based transactions in UK that is expected to continue significantly to 2021. They also note this is not a reflection of bank disaffection; rather it is a shift in how customers interact with Banks.

For industry wonks click through for the BBA/EY report.

Apps crush internet for UK banking logins

In 2015, there were 4.3 million online banking logins each day, down two per cent on the previous year, the BBA’s Way We Bank Now report shows. In contrast, banking app logins topped 11 million a day, a 50% rise on 2014 as 40,000 apps were downloaded every 24 hours.

The number of payments made using banking apps hit 347 million last year, a 54% rise. Internet banking still has the edge here, used for 417 million payments in 2015, but this was up just two per cent.

Further the EY lead notes something of particular interest

However, they also face difficulties in bringing legacy infrastructure in line with their new aspirations and creating an organisational environment that attracts top talent to achieve their aims.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 25, 2016 at 02:48

Posted in Uncategorized

Apple Pay accepted wherever Interac Flash is accepted, despite Apple’s own messaging

I am glad it is not just me that was confused about Apple Pay in Canada and where it is accepted. Remind me not to read marketing messages and lemming blog posts again. Even the Apple page is confusing with their “Coming Soon” section, which I now assume must be referring to online Apple Pay Interac Debit (online purchases such as Foodora).

Here is the punchline; Apple Pay works everywhere Interac Flash (Tap) is accepted. I have verified this over last few days, and am delightfully surprised with the convenience and simplicity.

myWPEdit Image


I do not know where the “only accepted at Tim Hortons” meme came from but lets consider that banished forever!

There is a decent explanation at Interac.

TD Canada, BMO, Scotiabank Launches Apple Pay for Visa, Debit Cards

Chad • a month ago

At LCBO today I said “credit” and pulled out my phone. The cashier said they don’t accept Apple Pay… I told him I’d used it yesterday at the same location (which I had) and he replied that management said not to accept it… it was ridiculous! Didn’t want to get into arguments I can’t win but it was an unpleasant surprise. Time to go to a different location next time.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 12, 2016 at 04:28

Posted in Uncategorized

Keshia Evans: symbol of US race problems

I have no way of knowing of any backstory on this pic from earlier today, but this has turned out today to be one of those pictures that just symbolizes everything in one moment.  “No words” as a good friend would say.

baton rouge

Written by Colin Henderson

July 11, 2016 at 21:51

Posted in Uncategorized

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