Feeds

Banking apps: insecure and badly written, say researchers

Buggy code, bad security

Boost IT visibility and business value

Security researchers IO Active are warning that many smartphone banking apps are leaky and need to be fixed.

Testing 40 iOS-based banking apps from 60 banks around the world, the research summary is pretty nerve-wracking:

  • 40 per cent are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, because they don't validate the authenticity of SSL certificates presented by the server;
  • 20 per cent lacked “Position Independent Executable (PIE) and Stack Smashing Protection enabled”, which IO Active says is used to help mitigate memory corruption attacks;
  • Half the apps are vulnerable to cross-site-scripting (XSS) attacks;
  • Over 40 per cent leave sensitive information in the system log; and
  • Over 30 per cent use hard-coded credentials of some kind.

Most worrying, however, are a couple of 90 per cent statistics: the number of apps that included non-SSL links, and the number that lack jailbreak detection. Even those with detection could still be installed: “All of the applications could be installed on a jailbroken iOS device. This helped speed up the static and black box analysis”, writes IO Active's Ariel Sanchez.

By including non-SSL links in the apps, Sanchez says, an attacker could “intercept the traffic and inject arbitrary JavaScript/HTML code in an attempt to create a fake login prompt or similar scam.”

“Moreover, it was found that 50% of the apps are vulnerable to JavaScript injections via insecure UIWebView implementations. In some cases, the native iOS functionality was exposed, allowing actions such as sending SMS or emails from the victim’s device,” he continues.

Buggy HTML in banking app

This UIWebView implementation allows a false HTML form to be injected. Source: IO Active

The IO Active post also details a number of other information leaks, including unencrypted data stored in sqlite databases, and information like IP addresses and application paths that could let a determined and skilled attacker draw inferences about the server-side infrastructure the app is talking to.

The research only looked at the client side, Sanchez states, and where possible, IO Active notified banks of the vulnerabilities he identified. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?