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HSBC scripting flaws play into the hands of phishers

XSS calamity

Website security in corporate America

Several HSBC websites are subject to scripting flaws that create a possible mechanism for crooks to create more convincing phishing scams.

Security blog xssed.com has posted a list of affected domains, which include HSBC sites in multiple territories including the UK. Xssed has been tracking problems on the bank's sites since last year. The bank has been taking up to two months to fix problems, with issues pointed out to it in May still unresolved.

Flaws in the Greek HSBC website and its flagship .com site were added earlier this week.

HSBC UK is yet to respond to our request for comment on the multiple scripting problem on its sites.

Attacks might exploit the flaws on the websites to present content from sites under their control in the context of a vulnerable HSBC site, creating a handy way to disguise phishing attacks in a bid to hoodwink more prospective marks.

The problem is the latest security-related calamity to befall HSBC. Previous pratfalls have included losing a server containing transaction data on 159,000 Hong Kong-based account holders during renovation work back in May. A month earlier HSBC UK owned up to misplacing 370,000 customer details, posted on an unencrypted disc to a reinsurance firm.

Aside from those all too familiar security cock-ups, HSBC UK had all sorts of problems keeping its e-payments system up and running earlier this year, while in March a failure to renew a digital certificate left its customers confronted by potentially confusing security warnings. ®

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