Absa introduces two-factor authentication to combat SIM-swap fraud

Following reports of continued SIM-swap fraud, Absa has announced that it is changing its verification technology.

In September, Rapport reported that Karen and Johan Holtzhauzen were suing Absa for R1.3 million, and interest, after criminals used an illegal Vodacom SIM-swap to steal R1.6 million from their home loan and business accounts.

The incident follows a similar case in March 2017, where a Vodacom and Absa customer’s Facebook post went viral after he claimed that he was defrauded of more than R260,000.

At the time, Absa said it will stick with transaction verification technology that remains linked to cellphones and SIM cards, called SureCheck, which sends clients a USSD pop-up prompting them to accept or reject a transaction.

New changes

In a statement seen by BusinessTech, Absa said it was taking a big leap forward in helping its customers bank more securely and combat SIM-swap fraud, with the introduction of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).

2FA will now deliver verification messages to the Absa mobile banking app directly and not your phone number.

If you bank online and do not yet have the Absa App, you will be required to download it from the Good Play or Apple App store.

Verification messages that require authentication include:

  • Make certain payments and purchases (e.g. once-off payments, airtime purchases, CashSend)
  • Create new beneficiaries
  • Edit your profile
  • Update your limits

“2FA is an update to the current SureCheck notifications and has been widely adopted across the globe,” it said.

“2FA is a leading security measure which acts as a second layer of security, enabling customers to verify certain higher risk transactions on our online and mobile banking channels without relying on their SIM Card.

“Interception of verification messages sent to customer’s SIM cards was one of the vulnerabilities often exploited by fraudsters, which 2FA now eliminates.”

Read: Capitec outlines the main types of card crime in the wake of massive data breach

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Absa introduces two-factor authentication to combat SIM-swap fraud