Safe deposit in Next-Gen Banking


Safe-Deposit lockers are traditional methods for confidential and undeclared storage, made available by banks as value-added services for their customers. Though precautionary measures are taken to make the safe-Deposit system tamper-proof. Strong-room civil construction, access control, surveillance, burglar alarm and process-definition to operate lockers are known ways of ensuring tamper-proofing, which also works well as long as threat model is limited to outsiders.

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In modern context, merely tamper-proofing without tamper-evidence has little sense and there exists a clear vacuum. With easy and cheap access to hidden spying gadgets to unknowingly monitor the asset-storage and insider connivance (various forms possible, including connivance with safe deposit vendor’s representative), the threat model has evolved multi-dimensional Tamper-Evidence is something, that is desired as new service, given the safe deposit storage is purpose-built for confidential and undeclared storage and no claim can be made even after tampering is detected. Today most of lockers are protected by dual key system, wherein one key is given to customer on issuance of lockers, but nothing prevents same key being duplicated by bank official or safe deposit vendor’s representative in connivance. Risk is more with surrendered lockers with duplicate key still being in possession of lessee, who is having another locker in same vault, connives with bank custodian. Some customers come pre planned to win over the custodians to operate their locker without signing in the entry log register or computerized record. Some banks may allow putting extra locks by customers but again this is one more step for tamper-proofing, as long as duplicate key is not made. Tamper-proofing doesn’t guarantee Tamper-Evidence. Another aspect around extending tamper-evidence is the sealing of lockers, during investigation by law enforcement agencies wherein, tamper-evidence can establish that lockers are really not opened and evidences destroyed in connivance with bank officials. Further for any objectionable storage found, tamper-evidence becomes non-repudiable legal evidence for either parties. Though electronic password equipped system or SMS based alert system can be thought as alternative, but these are not the solution for bulk safe-deposit services, cost-prohibitive, requires frequent maintenance, configuration and being a active component can be manipulated in multiple ways to hide tampering by connived insiders of same organization, that maintains these systems.

smartDNA® labels are extremely simple to use, cost-effective, maintenance-free, can not be misused by either parties, passive (hence can not be manipulated) and strongest known measure for tamper-evidence on earth and still providing a audit-trail for opening of lockers on bank’s IT system. Each Locker is made tamper-evident uniquely leveraging freshly auto-acquired credential, which is verifiable by scanning and can be remotely monitored. Alternatively banks can also scan safe-deposits on frequent basis and integrity status is auto-reported to customers and these measures are set to define new age banking experiences. With smartDNA® sealing, locker operation is auto-logged, ruling out any discrepancy in manual records. Purpose-built labels for this application, seals the key-hole such that, without fully destroying the label the key-hole never gets exposed to prevent any accidental misuse. Additional and optional feature can be extended to count all un-tampered labels at once. Banks though may not need to take liability for unintentional damage to label very much like content inside locker and in those exceptional situation new label can be applied in presence of customer or his/her representative. If any tampering is claimed, investigation can be focused on vistitors  captured in CCTV within time window after the last verification . Other than individuals, Banks can also extend smartDNA® secured storage as a Value Added Service, attracting HNI customers for their confidential storage needs.

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