Feeds

Security shocker: 75% of US bank websites have flaws

Insecure by design

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The vast majority of US bank websites jeopardize the security of their online customers by including design flaws that expose passwords and are susceptible to tampering by attackers, researchers say.

In a paper titled "Analyzing Web sites for user-visible security design flaws," researchers from the University of Michigan found 75 percent of bank sites surveyed had at least one such design flaw. The report was presented Friday at the Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security meeting at Carnegie Mellon University.

"To our surprise, design flaws that could compromise security were widespread and included some of the largest banks in the country," said Atul Prakash, a professor in the university's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who initiated the study. Doctoral students Laura Falk and Kevin Borders also participated.

The flaws aren't bugs, but rather features built into the design of the sites. They include:

  • Placing secure login boxes on insecure pages, i.e. pages that aren't protected by secure sockets layer. That allows passwords to be intercepted through man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Putting contact information and security notices on insecure pages. This makes it easy for scammers to change addresses and phone numbers listed on the page.
  • Not making it clear when the website is redirecting customers to a page outside the bank's domain. As a result, customers don't know whether to trust the site.
  • Allowing inadequate user IDs and passwords. Sites frequently allowed email addresses as user IDs and didn't require strong passwords.
  • Emailing sensitive information. This included passwords and statements.

The report was based on the examination of websites for 214 financial institutions. The study was conducted in 2006, so it's possible the designs have been cleaned up. But we doubt it. ®

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
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
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.