Feeds

Flaw exposed in HSBC's online banking

Bank says customers are 'adequately protected'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.