Feeds

Flaw exposed in HSBC's online banking

Bank says customers are 'adequately protected'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.