Feeds

Vodafone secures email-flashing barn door

Horse settled down, bringing up foals

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.