Feeds

Flaw exposed in HSBC's online banking

Bank says customers are 'adequately protected'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Researchers at Cardiff University have uncovered a flaw in HSBC's online banking security process that has left over three million customer accounts vulnerable to attack over the last two years.

The researchers found that anyone using the attack would have guaranteed access to an account within nine tries, The Guardian reports.

The researchers, who plan to publish full details of their findings in security journals later in the year, have so far only divulged that the vulnerability would mean a machine compromised with a key-logger would quickly reveal all the information a criminal would need to gain fraudulent access to an account.

Professor Antonia Jones, the computer scientist who led the research team told The Guardian: "As long as this flaw exists, customers are at risk. For banks or institutions that are making huge amounts out of their customers not to protect them is pretty scandalous."

HSBC, meanwhile, says it will review its security procedures in light of the disclosure, but described the vulnerability as "a supposed flaw" which it had never seen criminals use.

It added that the attack was "extremely sophisticated" would have to be very focussed on one individual, would therefore be unlikely to be particularly profitable, and thus was an unattractive approach.

In a statement, it said: "Online fraud via HSBC's internet banking system is substantially lower than the market average and we are satisfied our customers are adequately protected."

However, the other security experts warn that if the attack were to be automated, accounts would be very vulnerable. The Cardiff researchers add that once the loophole is spotted, it could be used to access accounts very simply. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.