Feeds

Online trading site was left wide open

Consultant reveals how even banks ignore security

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The conventional wisdom that banking organisations are more diligent with security was skewered in a presentation at the RSA conference this week.

Security consultancy Comsec outlined how they discovered that an online stock trading website they were asked to test was riddled with security holes. A rush job meant that basic security measures, such as the use of a secure login, were absent from the multimillion dollar system.

Comsec consultant Yuval Birman was called in to conduct a penetration test on the unnamed high-value trading exchange by an Israeli Bank. After capturing authentication packages sent when logging into the site he quickly established that it wasn't using SSL for logins - the packets were too small. Cracking the "authentication method" was child's play.

An offset of 10 was added to the hexadecimal value of login names. "When we reported our initial findings back to the bank and the exchange they were worried that transactions were happening across an open socket with no SSL encryption," Birman explained. "But what was far worse was that it would be possible to log-on as one user and implement high-value transactions as another user. The authentication, and not the encryption flaws, were the more important."

The system had no strong authorisation. But when developers brought two-factor authentication technology into the system they goofed again. They took an example of how to read the serial number of a token, which doesn't have anything to do with the random-sequence number generated by the token as the basis of a security application. Those who defined the project, rather than coders, are more to blame for the debacle, according to Birman.

"I'm not sure the developer is to blame. It's better to blame the person who defined the project. They specified fast response time as a key requirement of the project. They didn't say the project had to be secure, Birman said. "They sold the systems to banks at a stage when it was too late to make fixes. Developers were in a rush," he added.

They were given neither the budget or the resources to tackle the project methodically, and there was a notable lack of security testing on the system, he said.

After Comsec reported the initial problems it identified in the system a new version of the client software was produced. But Comsec discovered that potential hackers didn't have to upgrade to gain access to the system. Eventually the security bugs in the system were ironed out.

Buval made the comments during a presentation at the RSA Conference in London on Tuesday. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw
Energy summit bods warned of free energy bonanza
DRUPAL-OPCALYPSE! Devs say best assume your CMS is owned
SQLi hole was hit hard, fast, and before most admins knew it needed patching
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Mozilla releases geolocating WiFi sniffer for Android
As if the civilians who never change access point passwords will ever opt out of this one
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.