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February 16, 2017 | last updated February 16, 2017 2:02 pm

Norway Savings beefs up cybersecurity

Courtesy / Norway Savings Bank
Courtesy / Norway Savings Bank
Ann Brett, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Norway Savings Bank, announced Wednesday that the bank is changing its domain name to boost online security and guard against cybercrime.

Norway Savings Bank has switched to a new domain name designed to boost online security and guard against cybercrime.

As of Wednesday, it resides at norwaysavings.bank, using a trusted, more secure and easily identifiable space on the internet reserved for verified lenders that undergo a rigorous application process, according to Norway Savings Bank.

The idea is to prevent imposters from preying on customers since only entities that can prove they are banks can use the extension, once given the green light from California-based internet security firm Symantec Corp.

"It's a proactive approach to combat cybercrime," said Ann Brett, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Norway Savings Bank. "It definitely benefits the customer. Once the consumer becomes familiar with and learns what .BANK really means, it provides them with the assurance that this is my bank and it's safe for me to conduct business."

She said that while there were a few minor hiccups on launch day, feedback has been positive. The bank, which replaced magnetic cards with chip cards last year as many peers have done, communicated the changes to customers well in advance via email, social media and other means.

The new domain was accompanied by a revamped website, to be followed by a refreshed online banking application in early March said to be more responsive and customer-friendly.

Bankers nationwide tightening security

The .BANK domain, created in 2015 by the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, along with a similar one for insurers, is now owned by the American Bankers Association and managed by a group of banks, insurers and trade group known as fTLD Registry Services.

As of May 2016, a year after .BANK became available, the global number of registrations stood at more than 5,900, according to fTLD's website. The vast majority of these — 5,212 — were registered in the United States. Internationally, South Africa, Great Britain and Turkey had the highest registration numbers.

While Norway Savings Bank said it's one of the first community banks in Maine to adopt the new domain, all view cyber safety as a priority.

In November, Camden National Bank announced added security measures from real-time alerts in cases of debit card fraud and around-the-clock customer assistance center hours.

The Maine Bankers Association also expressed concerns about cybersecurity in a 2015 interview with Mainebiz.

Norway Savings Bank, founded in 1866, has 24 branches throughout western and southern Maine serving over 38,000 households. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, it had around $1.1 billion in total assets.

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