NatWest/RBS/Ulster Bank are giving away premium antivirus software to all customers

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I discovered the other day that NatWest are giving away premium subscriptions to the (very good) Malwarebytes antivirus software (RRP £50 per year) for free to all existing customers. It’s a welcome change for banks to offer freebies such as this to existing customers instead of reserving them for flashy promotions exclusive to new customers, and they haven’t really promoted it at all, so I thought I’d share it here in case someone else found it of use.

Anyway, to get your free premium licence you just need to log in to your NatWest online banking and select the ‘Security’ tab. From there, ‘Get Malwarebytes’ should be an option, and you then just need to follow the instructions. The premium licence is valid on up to 10 devices and is guaranteed until at least May 2022, plus you don’t need to enter any card details or anything like that - it really is free! You can read more about it here. And by the way, I currently only have a couple of quid in my NatWest Select account so there aren’t any requirements or anything - you could even sign up for a free current account just to get the free £50 software if you wanted to :laughing:

I assume NatWest are offering this in order to reduce fraud, and are hoping that the reduction in fraud payouts as a result of more customers protecting their devices with this software will more than cover the cost to them of providing the licences. Plus, this is especially useful at a time when an unusually large number of people are working from home using computers. Anyway, I hope this was useful to some people :smiley:

Edit: I’ve just found out that this applies to all RBS Group banks, so RBS and Ulster as well, which is good news

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Can’t help but think some people will install this believing it to help protect them against the current outbreak

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Or! Windows has built-in virus protection. Costs nothing. Works great.

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No need to have antivirus in the last decade. All you do is compromise your computer with a way in and letting them phone home with your data by installing them at this point. :sweat_smile:

I mean if it keeps them from burning down 5G towers I’d say that’s a win. :joy:

Is there evidence that malware is still the main fraud vector as opposed to people just being stupid and willingly enter their card details on phishing/shady websites or make payments to phone scammers?

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There’s a lot of people used to visiting branches now forced into online banking. This will make them feel safer even if in reality the methods you’ve said are far more common

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Malwarebytes has a web protection feature, which can block the phishing/shady sites, and malicious email links. It also has ransomware protection built in.

It’s got a terrible logo, but it’s a very good piece of software, and Natwest are to be commended for giving it away. I must also commend @Lonford for posting the news here, as now I know to make sure my elderly relatives who bank with Natwest are using it.

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I’ve been a linux user since 2017 but the nostalgia of windows XP and malwarebytes from the early 2010’s will always be a nice memory of being 12/13

Not that I know of, but I had no other explanation for why they they would be offering this (I would imagine it comes at a fairly hefty cost to them). I think this is probably pretty true though…

If they’re asking a large subset of their customer base who have previously never touched online banking and solely relied on the branch network to make the switch due to Coronavirus, then offering them additional protection may make them less fearful of the unknown and looks good if nothing else - although I’m surprised by the total lack of advertising around this, its highly unusual for a (legacy) bank.

I absolutely agree. Whether you believe in anti-malware software or hate it, at the end of the day a bank offering something genuinely helpful for (some of) their customers for absolutely nothing can only be a positive, and it’s something I wish we saw more of!

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I’d try not to focus too much on the name of the software. It does give protection against phishing sites and dodgy links. That’s the more likely reason Natwest have chosen to use it rather than just the malware part of the protection.

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As more people are now forced into online banking (as @Rat_au_van mentioned), this is a tactic to keep them as online customers instead of returning to branches. Medium term, this gives justification for more branch closures as even less people will be using them. If the RRP of the software is £50, you can bet they are paying less than half that for each activated license. Quite a bargain for Natwest really!

That would make a lot of sense, considering it’s a far more common cause of fraud nowadays as opposed to keyloggers etc.

Again, that would make a lot of sense on NatWest’s part, but I would’ve imagined that normally a convincing advertising campaign would accompany such a move if they had such ambitious plans. I think really all they need to do is convert the (ageing) group of people who so far have rejected online banking methods, and then they’ll go around shutting branches like there’s no tomorrow - perhaps this is just another move to facilitate that and reduce fear in those who are worried about making the move online. Let’s be honest, that proportion of their customer base is going to decrease exponentially, and Coronavirus might have provided them with the hook necessary to force people online and accelerate these plans.

Oh, I’m sure they pay a tiny fraction of the RRP considering the bulk nature of their order, but I’m still not going to complain!

Oh I agree, I forgot to mention that in my post. Perhaps they are gauging organic interest first? They might start targeting individuals as opposed to mass media campaigns too.

Ah perhaps. I guess if they only target it at those for whom it will make a significant difference as to whether they use online banking or not then it will save them a lot of money in licences, as opposed to targeting everyone.

What I like about malwarebytes is that it runs in tandem with windows defender , so you get the best of both worlds, which is unlike some other ones which disable windows defender and become the only security agent on the device.

We (my work) can buy malwarebytes premium for about £13-14 per year per device depending on the $ rate.

NatWest will be buying in huge bulk so would pay less than that and I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t even paying anything and Malwarebytes banking on people paying to carry on their subscription at retail prices after the licence expires.

This offer has been around a little while now. It’s good anti malware.

Obviously it’s people’s choice what software they use but on windows, the Microsoft inbuilt antivirus isn’t that great. It’s fast but it’s also like poking holes in your roof and getting wet when it rains.

Thsnk