AUSTRALIA’S biggest banks are making a concerted effort to protect their customers’ money in the face of an aggressive new cyber-attack, with some banks offering customers the option of locking out their accounts in an effort to make it harder for cybercriminals to steal their cash.
The move has drawn criticism from some lawmakers, who have questioned the government’s decision to extend a three-month deadline to the banks to implement a new cybersecurity policy.
The banks have said they will provide customers with the option to lock their accounts out.
Mr Morrison has repeatedly said the banks are taking steps to prevent cyberattacks from affecting customers’ finances.
He told the Senate this week he was “sickened” by the news, saying the banks had already made the decision to offer the option.
“It’s a bit of a shock,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a good look for our banks to be giving people the option.”
The banks that have offered the option include Western Australian, Victorian, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
However, some of the banks have not announced the offer and have yet to provide customers the opportunity to lock out their money.
A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Bank said it would not be providing a refund for customers who locked out their account in the last week of December.
“We are aware of the news and are reviewing our options, but the Commonwealth bank does not provide refunds to customers,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr O’Brien said the decision had been made because it was “not a good business” for the banks not to offer customers the choice of locking their accounts away or not locking them out at all.
“These actions by the banks in their policy are designed to deter any further attempts at identity theft,” he told the ABC.
Mr Palmer said it was the “biggest attack in a long time” and he was looking forward to the “proper” way the banks deal with cyber attacks.
“The real problem is, in terms of money, how do you keep your money safe,” he asked.
“How do you protect your money, and you know, when you’re not in the banking system, it’s like it’s your money.”
He said some banks were doing more to encourage customers to lock down their accounts.
“Some banks are offering the option for people to lock themselves out of their bank accounts, and that’s a very good idea,” he added.
Cyber crime expert Professor Scott Parnell said the new cyber security policy was an “absolute disgrace” for Australia’s banks.
“They’re now taking their money and not making it available to people,” he explained.
“To give people the choice to lock off their account or not is a massive failure.”
Cybercrime expert Scott Pannell says banks are doing more than offering refunds for customers locked out.
“If you’re a bank, you can’t simply give your customers the right to lock up their accounts and not be able to access them.”
“If people are going to put their money in, then you’ve got to get rid of the ability to access it,” he continued.
Mr Palmer says the government should make the banks pay the damages for the cyber attack. “
In some cases, banks have even resorted to forcing people to pay extra for extra access to their money.”
Mr Palmer says the government should make the banks pay the damages for the cyber attack.
“This is a colossal breach of trust on the part of the government.
They should be held to account for the breach, for not providing the option that they should be offering to the people to get locked out of it,” Professor Pannells said.
Cybercrime experts have warned the move is an “unprecedented” breach of banking security and has not been previously seen in Australia.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has not responded to questions about the decision.
Cyber security expert Professor Parnells says the banks need to be held accountable.
“A bank is a public institution.
It is a centralised, centralized organisation and they need to have the ability, the duty, the authority, to protect its customers and its financial assets,” he argued.
“But they don’t have the right.”
The Department said it has no plans to make changes to the cyber security plan.