Feeds

O2 binds Bluebook SMS security bug

Yet more URL manipulation mischief

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.