Feeds

Flaw exposed in HSBC's online banking

Bank says customers are 'adequately protected'

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.