HSBC e-banking paranoia reaches new levels

I bank with HSBC's retail (consumer) and business banking services. Earlier this month I was locked out from my personal e-banking and telephone banking service because of a security alert flag being raised on my retail bank account.

As a result I had to visit a branch with photo ID and confirm - in writing - that I had anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed.

Originally I thought the problem related to the fact I had accessed my account a lot more than usual - I was doing my tax returns that week.

Now the real reason is coming out - I had the audacity to use a Web browser other than Internet Explorer (in my case Firefox and Opera).

It seems that users of NetSurf, a popular browser for RISC-based PCs are being blocked en-masse (see here) and required to jump through the same security hoops as myself.

This really isn't good enough HSBC. You call yourself a global bank - you're behaving more like a parochial regional US bank with little knowledge or comprehension of the real world of the Internet.

HSBC claims to have an anti-fraud department that is second to none.

Trouble is, as I discovered, customers can't talk directly to the department - they have to relay messages through bank staff and put up with being treated like a five-year-old...