The Second Version

05/02/08

Modern-age Wonders

I opened my main bank account with an Internet bank. The reason is, the whole banking system in Italy is greedy and obsolete: a basic current account comes at a ludicrous cost for no extra services at all (while in the UK a step account costs exactly zero to the owner); you have to pay for each operation and even for the statements to be mailed you.

Then there are taxes. You have an account where to put your hard-earned (and already heavily taxed) money? You have to pay a tax on it. To be fair, that's not a fault of the banks, but rather of the cursed socialist politicians.

At least, with an Internet account there are no expenses for basic operations, and it comprises tools for savings, transfers and investments and no or little extra cost. But with Internet banking, security is a main concern. Access to my account is restricted by the usual username and first and second-level password.

But a few days ago the bank implemented another security system: they sent me a small electronic device (called token) which has exactly one button and an LCD display. The little thing is quite stilish, in its deep red colour and elliptical shape. Each time the button is pressed, the device generates a random sequence of numbers, which united to a third and fixed user-selected password produces an one-time password. This password is to be used to access the account and to authorize operations such as transfers between accounts. And we all hope it's really enough to stop thieves and the like.

Such a wondrous age, we live in!

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