Feeds

ABN Amro e-banking service hacked

But not much to worry about unless you're Net-stupid

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Update An investigative programme for Dutch TV has exposed security flaws in national bank ABN Amro's e-banking service Home Net. Hackers managed to breach defences and divert payments into their own accounts.

The money ran into thousands of guilders (hundreds of pounds sterling) but went unnoticed by the bank. The hackers also attempted to break into Rabobank's and ING's home banking services but were thwarted.

In the programme, screened on Sunday in Holland, an ABN Amro executive actually admits that the Home Net service is not fully secure and expects the hole to be fixed "within a few weeks". The Dutch consumers' group was livid when it heard the bank's response and insisted that ABN Amro pull its service until the problems were sorted out. It also said the bank should take full responsibility for any losses suffered by customers.

It seems as though insecure Internet banking isn't just a trait of the UK. Banks are obviously more concerned about image than customer service all over Europe. ®

Update: A knowledgeable reader writes:

"I watched the programme last night (living in Holland, and using the software to do my home banking), and was, to be frank, not really all that frightened.

Some background:

The ABN-Amro bank programme (HomeNet) is built using Borland tools (of which I personally am a great fan). However, the database holding your account details is unencrypted, and held in dbf files (I believe) so anyone can use the Borland Database Engine tools to peek into the database to examine transactions (which I have done, for my own personal amusement).

However, this also makes it vulnerable to manipulation.
The 'hackers' (actually some students who had discovered the hole and demonstrated it for the TV programme), after reporting it to the bank, who did nothing, until the TV programme was shown, use the following method:


  • Search newsgroups for people asking questions about using ABN Amro's Homenet e-banking system
  • Send these people a 'patch', posing as 'helpdesk@abnamro.nl', containing the hack (really, a trojan)

When the user runs the 'patch' the trojan installs itself, and ensures that all payments entered are sent to a different bank account number.



To be fair, a vigilant bank employee spotted the problem, after several different payments were made (including one of NLG 23,000, about £7,000) with different names, to the same account number. So the problem is more a combination of poor (or lazy) programming, user ignorance (and boy can they be ignorant), and <religious-bigotry>the typical slack security of Microsoft OSes, which allow anyone to update, delete, etc any programme</religious-bigotry>.

Not quite in the same league as Barclays(?), where a friend of mine was able to transfer a significant sum into his own account from someone else's. Just to set you straight. Although I realise that facts don't always have to be top priority.

David Emmett"

Related Stories

Cahoot recalls debit cards
Egg hackers were disorganised crime
HSBC online lets users take blame for security issues

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.