23 July, 2008

Most Bank Sites Are Insecure

Information Week:
"More than three-quarters of bank Web sites have design flaws that could expose bank customers to financial loss or identity theft, according to a University of Michigan study that will be presented this week at the Symposium on Usable Security and Privacy.

The study, 'Analyzing Web Sites For User-Visible Security Design Flaws,' examined 214 bank Web sites in 2006. It was conducted by University of Michigan computer science professor Atul Prakash and doctoral students Laura Falk and Kevin Borders.

The vulnerabilities identified by the authors aren't fixable with a simple patch. Rather, they are issues like login boxes, information submission forms, security information, and contact information placed on insecure pages; redirections outside the bank's domain without warning; allowing insecure user IDs and passwords; and e-mailing sensitive information insecurely.

'To our surprise, design flaws that could compromise security were widespread and included some of the largest banks in the country,' Prakash said in a statement. 'Our focus was on users who try to be careful, but unfortunately some bank sites make it hard for customers to make the right security decisions when doing online banking.'"

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