Feeds

UK banking websites' security slammed

Frame spoof vulnerabilities rife, warns Heise

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Several major UK bank websites are subject to security flaws that make it easier for phishing fraudsters to craft more convincing scams, according to a study by Heise Security, a UK arm of the German firm behind c't magazine and German IT portal Heise Online.

Two major banks (NatWest and USB) improved the security of their sites since flaws were detailed by Heise last Friday, but other customer-facing e-banking websites remain vulnerable to frame-spoofing and other types of security attack.

Last Friday, Heise published a number of demos to show how phishing fraudsters might be able to overlay the websites of NatWest, Cahoot, Bank of Scotland, Bank of Ireland, First Direct, and Link with rogue frames, potentially served from websites controlled by fraudsters. The same type of attack is also possible against the website of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, a bank-sponsored police unit.

Heise demoed these attacks using default IE6 installs not fitted with security patches, a foolhardy configuration that leaves the door open to all sorts of mischief.

Separately, cross site scripting attacks against the websites of USB and the Bank of England's site were also demonstrated. Frame spoofing attacks can be thwarted providing users are using up to date browser software, but the cross-site scripting attacks it demonstrated can't be addressed by client-side security updates, according to Heise. Both types of attacks require a modicum of skill to carry out, but are far from difficult.

A number of high street banks - including HSBC, Barclays and the Halifax - were not vulnerable to Heise Security's tests. HSBC, for example, uses JavaScript code to check the integrity of the frameset, an approach that thwarts frame spoofing even if a surfer is using out-of-date browser software.

Heise is calling on other UK banks to improve the security of their services. Since documenting its tests, Nat West has made security improvements that means its site is no longer easily susceptible to exploitation. The Bank of England has changed its application to filter user input, so the attack demo by Heise now fails to work. USB has also made security improvements, but portions of its site are still vulnerable to attack, according to Heise. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
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.