Feeds

Vodafone secures email-flashing barn door

Horse settled down, bringing up foals

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.