Banks Line Up for Dot-Bank Domain Names to Help Prevent Cyberattacks

JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo among banks applying for new domain extension

More than 5,500 global banks — including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — have applied for the dot-bank domain to protect their institutions and customers from cyber breaches, according to Washington, D.C.-based fTLD Registry Services, which manages the domain.

Craig Schwartz, fTLD’s managing director, told ThinkAdvisor Thursday that more than 2,200 banks have applied for more than 5,500 domain names. Those banks include BB&T, US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Dollar Bank and City National Bank.

FTLD Registry Services — established in 2011 by a coalition of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations from around the world — launched .BANK in May 2015, as “a trusted, verified, more secure and easily identifiable location on the Internet for the global banking community and the customers it serves,” Schwartz said. “We’re specifically carving out a place on the Internet for banks, their customers and the service providers that facilitate online banking services.”

“So far, just more than 2,000 domain names have been approved,” he said, adding that he couldn’t readily say how many banks had successfully registered those domain names.

Examples of domain names are bbt.bank, wellsfargo.bank and chase.bank, vs. the historical bbt.com, wellsfargo.com and chase.com.

Schwartz said there was a “strong demand for owning a dot-bank domain,” which “shows that banks recognize that the security offered by dot-bank will be a critical tool for protecting their customers’ proprietary information.”

A dot-bank website still has the “look and feel” of other websites, Schwartz adds, “but the use of dot-bank will signal their bank’s commitment to online security.” 

The dot-bank domain offers enhanced security features, including strong encryption and verification requirements.

“The Internet is undergoing its most dramatic change in decades with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) approval of nearly 1,000 new domain extensions, (e.g. .com, .org, .net), which is how fTLD can offer dot-bank,” Schwartz explained.

Top locations for dot-bank registrations come from banking institutions across the United States, as well as South Africa, the United Kingdom and Spain. 

FTLD has also released “A Guide to Leveraging .BANK." 

The Financial Services Roundtable is a lead supporter, investor and founder of the dot-bank domain.

Chris Feeney, president of FSR’s cybersecurity and technology policy division (BITS), says the move by banks “clearly signifies the dedication and importance banks place on improving protections for their customers’ sensitive information from the growing threat of cyberattacks.” Feeney said that dot-bank online space “has more than 30 enhanced security requirements that are specially designed to create a trusted, verified and more secure location for online banking business.”

--- Check out Cybersecurity Tops Advisors’ Compliance Worries: Poll on ThinkAdvisor.

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