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UK banks accused of weak login page security

07 January 2016  |  8143 views  |  3 Login detail

More than half of banks and building societies in the UK are leaving their online customer login pages vulnerable because of insecure SSL instances, according to security experts at Xiphos Research.

Xiphos examined the SSL certificate instances associated with the secure login function at a host of British retail banks and building societies, as well as foreign-owned outfits operating in the UK, by anonymously submitting URLs to the SSLLabs service from Qualys.

Of 22 UK-owned banks, half were found to have insecure SSL instances, while 51% of 37 building societies also had issues, and more than three quarters of foreign-owned outfits were found to have problems. Of the 84 SSL instances, 12 of them (or 14%) were rated by SSLLabs as bottom of the class F.

In a blog, Xiphos co-founder Mike Kemp says that the firm is not naming and shaming the offenders because since carrying out the research in November it has struggled to contact and warn them.

With security contact details difficult to procure, the firm approached the Financial Conduct Authority for help, only to be rebuffed because of “security reasons”. The UK National Crime Agency has also been informed.

Says Kemp: "As things stand, over 50% of banks and building societies in the UK have weak SSL implementations associated with their secure login functions. And the impacted parties don’t seem to care."

Comments: (3)

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 07 January, 2016, 11:13

This is no surprise as most of security analysts and researchers have been advocating End to End encryption implemenation which is more than depending on Browser features.

 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 07 January, 2016, 13:28

This is peculiarly pointless "research" - grandstanding on a particular technical point, while ignoring (or perhaps ignorant) of other technical controls deployed by the banks to prevent fraud and detect malware.

The author was roundly denounced on Twitter by people who actually know what they are doing. 

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Joe Martens
Joe Martens - various - Texas | 08 January, 2016, 11:55

@"A Finextra member"... that's a ridiculous comment - it's like saying "let our army fight without armor, becuase we've got good medical facilities".

Xiphos did not go far enough... I ran my own survey recently and only 1% of banks in the world are using HSTS, which makes the reamining 99% vulnerable to MitM over Wifi... and yes... there's 50-million+ public hotspots in the world... that's 50-million different places where anyone with a bank account can get scammed, because the banks don't enforse SSL... and that not even starting on the fact that the SSL they *do* enforce is radically useless anyhow!

 

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