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Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute deploys Thales hardware security modules to protect its ATM network as it connects to the ATM network between countries

November 2010 by Marc Jacob

Thales announces that Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) has deployed Thales hardware security modules (HSMs) to help secure its ATM network as it upgrades its system to connect to the global ATM network, ensuring that Korean cardholders can make use of ATM machines around the world both conveniently and cheaply.

Until now, if a Korean cardholder wanted to withdraw cash from an ATM machine overseas, they had to pay additional commission to the global card companies. However, if Korea is able to take advantage of the ATM joint network between countries, customers will be able to use the same services abroad as they would in Korea, including remittance and withdrawal of cash, without paying any commission.

For the past two years KFTC has been working on upgrading its existing ATM system to connect with the ATM network between countries. It has deployed Thales HSM 8000s to protect the cryptographic processes required to secure its ATM network, the switch and to authorize transactions. The connection between foreign financial institutions and ATM networks will be completed by the end of 2010 enabling Korean check/debit card users to withdraw cash in the US, Philippines and Malaysia. This will be expanded to Europe, Canada and other Asian countries by 2011.

“The global ATM network approves cash transactions between countries, so the safety of the system is of paramount importance,” says Oh Eun-Sook, manager at KFTC in charge of this project. “We selected Thales HSM 8000 as it is FIPS 140-2 level 3 validated, one of the most widely recognized and stringent security standards for HSMs. Also, because we are connecting our own system to those of other foreign companies, we chose a product from a company with the most abundant overseas references. This meant we were able to complete the connection work with foreign companies quite easily.”

“As the representative financial network hub of Korea, KFTC recognizes the importance of system security,” says Franck Greverie, Vice President for the information technology security activities of Thales. “We are pleased that KFTC chose Thales to help safeguard its excellent reputation along with customer trust and look forward to supporting its efforts to provide its customer with the best in service and security”.

Thales HSM 8000 is designed specifically to meet the needs of the payments industry with cryptographic support for the issuance of payment cards and the switching and authorization of transactions. Thales HSM technology has already been adopted by every major card scheme around the world and currently protects more than 70% of the world’s card transactions. Fully compliant with the financial industry’s security audit requirements HSM 8000 is certified to FIPS 140-2 level 3, one of the most widely recognized and stringent security standards.

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About KFTC

Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC) is an institution that provides its member banks and customers with various convenient payment services by building and operating payment systems which are the core infrastructure of the Korea financial industry.

KFTC was founded in June 1986 by integrating Korea Clearing & Credit Reporting Center and Korea Bank Giro Center, which were implementing Check Clearing and Giro businesses respectively at the time, and based on this merger, the Financial Information Network (FIN) was created which became the core infrastructure of electronic banking services.

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