Feeds

Vodafone secures email-flashing barn door

Horse settled down, bringing up foals

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Vodafone has secured the security breach that allowed anyone with a bit of time on their hands to collect subscribers' email addresses and phone numbers.

The hole came to light on Wednesday and allowed anyone to enter a phone number and get the corresponding email address, or enter a valid user name to get both the email and phone number of that user. As word spread about the flaw and customers started getting emails from strangers who knew their phone numbers, Vodafone spent the last couple of days scrabbling to fix the problem.

The flaw isn't new, but hadn't been noticed until now. When a user forgets their password Vodafone asks for their phone number and sends an email to the corresponding address with a reminder. The problem was that the site also confirmed to whom the email had been sent, displaying the subscriber's email address. Users quickly discovered the same thing could be achieved by guessing a login name, in which case both the phone number and email address could be collected.

But now that's been fixed, so customers who forget their password will still get sent a reminder but will have to take it on faith that Vodafone has sent the message to the right place.

"We have sent an email to your registered email address," Voda says. "When you get it, click on the link. This will take you to a page where you can reset your password and view your username." We tried it this morning and have yet to receive the corresponding email, so some work is obviously ongoing, but at least it didn't display our email address to the world.

Quite how many email addresses were compromised in the 48 hours Vodafone spent fixing the problem we don't know. The operator has been busy reassuring customers, explaining: "The personal data stored on their My Account profile has not been directly at risk as a result of the site's functionality."

This is true, but the customer's email address and phone number might well have been compromised and that might matter to them. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.