Feeds

O2 binds Bluebook SMS security bug

Yet more URL manipulation mischief

3 Big data security analytics techniques

O2 has plugged a security hole that allowed customers to view text messages sent by other UK subscribers online.

The issue involves O2's Bluebook application, which allows subscribers to save any text messages they send or receive for viewing online. Coding errors in Bluebook created a means for registered users to view other user's messages (and phone numbers) simply by changing the message ID number in URLs used to access messages on the site. In a statement, the mobile phone giant said that it has fixed the problem.

"We have identified and closed a loophole in Bluebook which allowed O2 Bluebook customers logged into their own account to view the message of another Bluebook customer by changing the URL in the browser window. This allowed them – in one particular window only - to view a random text message of another Bluebook user and in some cases the phone number of the sender," an O2 spokeswoman explained.

O2 said the security slip-up emerged as the "result of an internal review" on Friday 8 February. It said the loophole was closed on Monday 11 February. The issue was reported to us by Reg reader Tom, who claimed that the issue was actually reported to O2 on 4 February.

The mobile phone operator apologised for the slip-up, adding that it had implemented unspecified security measures to guard against similar coding problems in future.

"We apologise to our Bluebook customers for this lapse. We have conducted a thorough review to make sure it cannot happen again and that their details are secure," the spokewoman added.

Flaws that leave customer data viewable by simple URL manipulation are a common coding mistake, and one that 02 itself has fallen victim to in the past. The mobile phone giant was obliged to disable logins to its Bill Manager website in August 2006 when it emerged that registered users could see other customers' call records. The service, which allows small businesses to manage their spending on mobile calls, was subject to much the same URL manipulation coding snafu as the Bluebook site. The slip-up exposed sensitive call records, though more sensitive billing records were not accessible through the application and therefore not exposed.

URL manipulation also opened the way for the curious to view the details of applicants applying for jobs at oil giant Shell in Jan 2003. More seriously, the same class of vulnerability exposed credit card details of customers of utility Powergen back in July 2000. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.