The rise of Docker has brought container virtualisation technology to the forefront, yet it is not the only form of container technology and not exclusive to web servers. Financial institutions are now using containerisation technology to interact with mission-critical applications on malware-infected devices, in a safe way.
Banks in particular have been plagued by cyber fraud since the advent of online banking. One only needs to look at figures from Financial Fraud Action UK to see that levels of card and online banking fraud is constantly rising (fraud from card purchases made online rose from £240m in 2012 to £301.1m in 2013).
Such techniques as two way authentication have been used in an attempt to combat the constant threats but are useless when the user’s PC or mobile is already infected with a Trojan that’s already in the boot network. It’s very easy for those with malicious intent to connect this information and redirect payments.
The fact that mission critical data and applications are often used on devices that are out of the control of the institutions means that banks are now assuming that devices used by customers are already infected and under the surveillance of fraudsters. However, containerisation technology means mission critical applications are now being run in secure environments, protected from the outside environment. This differs from previous techniques commonly known as “sandboxing” or “containment” which only attempted to isolate malicious or untrusted applications in order to protect endpoints.
By using ‘Securebox’ technology that creates a virtual fortress inside a device for mission critical applications to run isolated from the rest of the environment, the end user actually has a completely different session and is therefore unable to unwittingly facilitate cyber fraud.
‘Application Containerisation’ technology secures the mission critical applications and data at rest and in-transit. The applications – such as browsers running in the container – work in an encrypted workspace so that data cannot be stolen. By combining anti-screen scraping, anti-remote take over and anti SSL hijacking technologies, data is being protected from various types of data stealing methods used by malware and fraudsters.
Via containerisation, banks assume customers’ devices are already malware-infected. The advancement of the technology, which sits on top of the host operating system and intercepts applications’ calls to sensitive areas of the OS, means that the end user actually has a completely different session.
An easy example of this is keylogging. Keylogging is a process by which hackers are able to decipher passwords by recording keystrokes but the threat is eliminated by keyboard virtualisation. The solution intercepts keystrokes and encrypts information, sending it directly to the target window in a customised message, bypassing the entire OS input subsystem.
It’s not just online banking that these technological developments are helping in the fight against cyber fraudsters. The retail industry is using them to secure point-of-sale systems, without having to actually manage their end-user customer devices. One for the good guys!