Feeds

TheTrainline revamps security handling after glitch

Back on track

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

TheTrainline.com, the UK website for buying train tickets, has revamped its procedures for dealing with security reports following an incident where a security bug meant that customers could be invited to submit credit card details over an insecure link. The flaw had an effect only when users made an error in submitting their credit card details, so it didn't affect the majority of customers.

Nonetheless it was a serious slip-up, which went unresolved even three weeks after it was reported to the firm by Tim Anderson, a Reg Developer contributor, on 8 October. Another Reg reader reported similar problems. Our initial attempts to contact the firm also proved fruitless, but less than a day after our story was filed on the problem TheTrainline.com implemented a fix.

The passenger transport etailer said on Monday that it has now updated its procedures for handling reports of security bugs, following a review after our report in November.

"I cannot express firmly enough that security is an issue that this company takes very seriously," Ben Pearson, commercial director of TheTrainline.com, told El Reg. "It was with considerable dismay that I learned of this fault and the problem was resolved within a day of it being brought to my attention. Subsequent to your article we have also introduced new procedures such that customer reported faults of this nature get escalated immediately for diagnosis and remedy."

TheTrainline.com deserves credit for its willingness to review how it handles security bugs. It's a lesson other firms in the transport sector - who in our experience at least are far more difficult to contact about problems over security than other ecommerce firms - would do well to note.

The original problem - now resolved - kicked in when customers made an error on the final payment page after choosing a journey they wished to purchase. Customers who made an error were bounced over onto an insecure page, inviting them to submit corrected details over an unencrypted HTTP link, as a result of a coding error. Inattentive users could be forgiven for missing the change. Although the HTTPS signifier in the URL was absent, a falsely reassuring padlock graphic remained in place, along with logos for Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.

There's no evidence that the bug was used to carry out fraud, but the potential for abuse was clearly there. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.