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Security The Almighty Buck News

Cyber Gangs Raise Profile of Commercial Online Bank Security 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-you-can-prevent-identity-theft dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "The Washington Post's Security Fix blog has published a rapid-fire succession of investigative stories on the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies, schools, and public institutions at the hands of organized cyber thieves and 'money mules,' willing or unwitting people recruited via online job scams. Some businesses are starting to challenge the financial industry's position that they are not responsible for online banking losses from things like keystroke logging malware that attacks customer PCs. Last week, a Maine firm sued its bank, saying the institution's lax approach to so-called multi-factor authentication failed after thieves stole $588,000 from the company, sending the money to dozens of money mules. The same group is thought to have taken $447,000 from a California wrecking company, whose bank also is playing hardball. Most recently, the Post's series outlined a sophisticated online system used by criminals to recruit, track and manage money mules."
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Cyber Gangs Raise Profile of Commerical Online Bank Security

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  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:36PM (#29557817)

    I have accounts at a few different financial institutions and have to say that despite all their other problems I think Bank of America has about the best two-factor authentication scheme I've seen so far.

    Cell phones are extremely common these days, and BoA has leveraged that ubiquity. You can set up your account so that any time you attempt to log on the bank will send you an SMS text message with a totally random 6 digit number. You have to enter that number as you're logging into their website (along with your regular password). Since they're using an out-of-band method of sending you the random code the chances of it being intercepted are extremely small. And since it can only be used once then even a keylogger can't defeat it. The only type of attack that I think would work in this situation would be a man-in-the-middle attack, which is very unlikely as well.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:43PM (#29557879)

      I can think of a *lot* of attacks on that. Most of them just as illegal as the intended crime...but...yeah... It's technically trivial to intercept SMS data. As it is, you can already see the fraud shops working around it--the new trojans send an alert to some amazon-turk type person in the middle of nowhere when you login, and just hide a window that gets relayed to them. While you're logged in, they can do very bad things...

      Also, as somebody working in an industry that once depended on SMS. Let me tell you the service is ridiculously unreliable. How'd you like not being able to log into your bank b/c you couldn't get an SMS? In the US I can tell you from experience that any given vendor will have SMS "down" for about four days (total) a year.

      Finally--even if it can only be used once, a keylogger can defeat it, unless only the last message is valid, and/or there's a rapid timeout. All I need to do is make the keylogger a little aggressive, and popup a box prompting you for *two* passwords. Of course, the first one actually goes to the bank--the second one crossposts to evil.com so I can login later today and drain you.

      I realize--it's probably a "small" concern--but when you need your bank info--you often *need* it quickly.

      Looks, there's a lot of *good* technologies out there to help filter this. The credit card companies use some of them. But in the case of banks, what's going on is outright criminal negligence that they refuse to fix.

    • It's a good approach, almost ... but it doesn't stop trojans at all. Why didn't they go the extra mm and make it secure? This is no better than the little calculator I have at home which generates a random number using my card and my pin, which doesn't stop trojans either.

      What they should have done is send the transaction details and the confirmation code in the same SMS.

      • I don't get it. How's a trojan going to read an sms off my cell phone?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Not at all. Why should it? The trojan will just make YOU do all the work for it.

          Scenario: You want to transfer 40 bucks to Aunt Bessy for that wonderful cake she sent you. You have one of those trojans in your box, though. This trojan got information from its maker that it should send whatever your account can possibly send without setting off alarm clocks at the bank to Mr. Hackme and sits quietly inside your box 'til the next time you log into your account.

          "Fortunately" most banks conveniently display the

          • My bank requires me to enter a number before I can pay a new person. This number is generated by a little machine that accepts my card and requires me to enter both my pin and a transaction ID. It then generates a hash from these three pieces of information. I then enter this hash into the bank's page. If a trojan (or a MITM attack) tried to substitute a transaction paying Aunt Bessey to Mr. Hackme then my bank would require authorisation. If I've already paid Aunt Bessey then I would go on a different

            • You might get suspicious. But how many others will? Browsers frequently lose cookies or webpages change so people are used to having to reenter their credentials every now and then, even if they already entered them. How many will simply write this off as "heck, every time the bank changes something I have to go through this hassle"?

      • What they should have done is send the transaction details and the confirmation code in the same SMS.

        Which is exactly what the Commonwealth Bank of Australia does.

        Whenever you try to do anything 'serious', e.g. transfer money to someone new, change your details etc, you have to enter a code they'll send you by SMS. This SMS will briefly say what you're trying to do, e.g. a part of the account number you're sending money to. It's fast and doesn't get in your way unless you're doing something potentially dangerous

    • by maladroit (71511) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:48PM (#29557921) Homepage

      As Bruce Schneier recently pointed out [schneier.com], MITM attacks are now much more common, and likely to become widespread.

      Now, if they used that cell phone message to authenticate the exact transaction you are performing, you'll be much more secure.

      Of course, if it's too easy to update the cell phone number, all bets are off.

      • by jasonwc (939262) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:07PM (#29558089)
        They do! By default, anytime you add a BillPay account, modify BillPay settings, or make an electronic transfer of funds you're asked to authenticate via SMS for THAT transaction. SMS authentication is not merely used to login. It's used to authenticate any major financial transaction.
        • by MeanMF (631837) *
          For it to work correctly, the SMS or other out-of-band message should include the details of the transaction that you're authenticating. Otherwise a MITM attacker could make you think you're just logging in when actually you're authorizing a wire transfer.
          • by jasonwc (939262) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:22PM (#29558207)
            Not really. By default, SMS is not used to login; only to authenticate transactions. If you know you haven't requested any such transaction, you should immediately reject the authentication attempt, log out, and contact BoA.

            To successfully transfer funds out of your account, they would need you to authenticate via SMS twice - once to login and once to authenticate the transaction. If you know you haven't authorized any transactions, you simply should refuse any further authentication attempts.

            I suppose they could make it appear that the original attempt failed. However, that should raise enough suspicion to cause you to log off. In addition, they would have to correctly guess your SiteKey image to attempt the attack. When you login, Bank of America displays a unique image of your choosing to ensure you're at the authentic site.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by jasonwc (939262)
              Oh, and Bank of America uses an EV SSL cert making it particularly easy to verify that you're on the correct site. Any of the above behavior should cause a cautious individual to inspect the validity of the SSL certificate.
              • by mrjohnson (538567)
                EV (and certs in general) are little better than snake oil. If the browser is already compromised, trusting it to tell you the site your visiting is trusted is foolish.
            • by MeanMF (631837) *
              Making it look like the initial login failed is one way, another is to tell you that your session timed out and that you need to reauthenticate to continue. If you're a very security-conscious customer you might catch on, but the overwhelming majority of people are going to be fooled by this. If the SMS message told you exactly what you were authorizing, it would go a long way towards defeating this kind of attack. Unless the attacker can intercept and modify the SMS message before it gets to you, you're
              • by jasonwc (939262)
                However, the "overwhelming majority of people" are unlikely to change the default setting to require SMS for logins as well as transactions.

                Therefore, even a non-security conscious person should be very suspicious when their banking site asks them to authenticate via SMS due to a session timeout when they have never had to do so in the past and their only use of SMS in the past resulted from significant financial transactions.

                Perhaps I expect too much from Joe Sixpack. :P

                I think BoA is doing a reasonable jo
                • by MeanMF (631837) *
                  Yes, that's pretty much the point of the article. As long as the banks aren't responsible for the losses, they have little incentive to spend money securing their systems. They just focus on generating as much business as possible, which means less focus on security and more focus on making things easy for users. If they were at least partially responsible for the losses, then they would not allow Joe Sixpack or anybody to do a funds transfer without SMS or some other better form of authentication. Or t
                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Opportunist (166417)

                    Since I worked for banks with exactly this problem, I can reassure you that even if they aren't responsible for the losses, they have a very keen interest in making the whole deal secure: Cost.

                    You have NO idea how much money banks save by shifting the work of transfers to you, their customer. Banks shut down a lot of branches and laid off a lot of people because they don't need so many brick and mortar outlets and tellers anymore. Now imagine people lost faith in the security of online banking, to the point

                    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                      by MeanMF (631837) *
                      But I think that at the moment their financial interest is in making online banking fast and convenient, not making it secure. Maybe someday people will begin to stop using online banking, but we're nowhere near that point yet. One sure way to drive people away today would be to implement mandatory two-factor authentication or other inconvenient security measures. A lot of people would take their business elsewhere. No bank is going to do that unless ALL of the banks are forced to do it. And that means
                    • by Ironica (124657)

                      Since I worked for banks with exactly this problem, I can reassure you that even if they aren't responsible for the losses, they have a very keen interest in making the whole deal secure: Cost.

                      You have NO idea how much money banks save by shifting the work of transfers to you, their customer. Banks shut down a lot of branches and laid off a lot of people because they don't need so many brick and mortar outlets and tellers anymore.

                      And this is primarily due to online banking, rather than ATMs?

                      Now imagine people lost faith in the security of online banking, to the point where they consider it untrustworthy enough to demand their human monkeys again to do their work.

                      And the banks say "Sure thing! That'll be just $5 per transaction!"

                      Furthermore, banks could not even easily return to brick and mortar transactions if everybody suddenly stopped using online banking, some banks are by now very dependent on online banking, to the point where they would quickly lose customers simply because there are no local branches anymore.

                      As others have pointed out, they'd *also* lose customers if they actually made online banking secure.

                      Think about it: first, they have to make things less convenient, because frankly, convenience and security are inversely proportional. That will lose them customers right off the bat.

                      But as several posters have pointed out, that's not enough... because people don't know how to ke

                    • Quite the opposite. Have a few people pay for their convenience and ignorance and you'll soon see people not only ask for but outright demand tight security.

                • I think you do expect too much. Considering that people sent out a barrage of transaction IDs due to an email telling them to do so or their bank account is going to be terminated, I think people would not get suspicious if they suddenly got an SMS from their bank that they never requested. They will just think their bank changed the security setup, maybe even consider it a good sign that the bank is working on improving security, and play along.

              • If the SMS message told you exactly what you were authorizing, it would go a long way towards defeating this kind of attack.

                Exactly. And moreover, the attacker could always wait for you to submit a legitimate transaction, and submit his own (with different recipient, and different amount) instead. How would you spot that without the transaction details contained in the SMS?

            • What if you want to authorize a transaction but they just change the transaction to one they had already lined up earlier?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by ArsenneLupin (766289)

              they would have to correctly guess your SiteKey image to attempt the attack

              They won't have to guess. If they've placed a MITM or rooted your windows box, they can just ask the bank in your name to supply the correct image.

    • So no one without a cellphone can have a BOA account?

    • by Rick17JJ (744063) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:45PM (#29558381)
      I have a PayPal security key on my key chain, which I use whenever paying for something by PayPal. Most people do not realize that PayPal offers the option of using a security key. That multi-factor identification, which is where I need to know something and I also need to have something, to access the account. The security key generates a different 6-digit number every 30 seconds. So if someone managed to steal my password through a keystroke logger or a phishing email message, they would not have the security key that I keep in my pocket. If someone found my security key laying on the ground, they would not know my password.

      https://www.paypal.com/securitykey

      As for the alternative of getting in my answering the security questions for the account, I have used very hard to guess made up answers for the stupid security questions (I did not use real information).

      An employee at the bank, where I have my checking account, recently suggested that I should do online banking. First I asked him if that would work with my computer which runs Linux, intead of Windows. He said Linux would work just fine. I then mentioned my concerns about security and the fake phishing emails that I get, which claim to be about my online banking account at their bank. I said, you know the ones that want me to click on some long complicated looking URL going to some foreign country, and then probably have me log-in and give them my user name and password. He said, "yes just ignore all of those fake email messages."

      I also mentioned my concerns about keystroke loggers, although I added I have probably managed to secure my Linux computer, better than most average computer users do. However, a keystroke logger might still a slight possibility, even for my Linux computer, so I knew I wanted the additional protection of multi-factor authentication. I pulled my security key out of my pocket, and asked him if they offer two-factor authentication, using something like this. He said the did not offer anything like that. I told him that I would not feel comfortable doing online banking with them, because they do not offer multi-factor authentication.

      Two-factor authentication may not be totally perfect, because most forms might still be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, but it would still be a major upgrade to their security. The cell phone plus 6-digit number in an SMS text message technique, that you said Bank One is using, also sounds great.
      • by 1s44c (552956)

        I have a PayPal security key on my key chain

        You are securing yourself against the wrong people.

        Paypal have the habit of demanding payment for some non-existing debt and cleaning out every account and credit card they can access.

        • by Rick17JJ (744063)
          Do you have a link to an article, or a specific example, which talks more about the problem of demanding payment for some non-existing debt, which you mention?

          I do not actually use PayPal very much, except for occasionally using that as the method of payment on web sites which offer PayPal as an optional method of paying. I have never actually yet tried using PayPal to purchase something from another individual over the Internet (which is probably what most people use PayPal for). I really have not yet us
      • by Rick17JJ (744063)
        Apparently they are starting to see man-in-the-middle attacks and trojan attacks being used against two factor authentication. I just noticed where maladroit's post had a link to where Bruce Schneier talks about how those types of attacks are being used against two-factor authentication.

        Bruce suggests authenticating the transaction instead of authenticating the user, although at least in the article below, he does not give any details about how exactly to do that.

        http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/0
      • The only downside is that Paypal is not a bank. So they charge usury rates and aren't FDIC insured and have a whole host of banking regulations they somehow aren't bound by.

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Paypal in the UK doesn't offer the Security key, but they do offer SMS confirmation to your phone. I'm presuming they've implemented this in such a way that you can't steal the password and login and change your mobile phone number without this feature!
        If done well, this is quite neat: raises the security without adding a cost.
      • A security key will defend you against others stealing your passwords and trying to pose as you, but it cannot defend you against a MITM attack inside your box. You will simply just authenticate the bogus transaction. A trojan that manipulates your data on the fly, which does exist in the wild and has been widely used since the advent of security keys, will not be thwarted by this.

      • by houghi (78078)

        A security key is indeed secure. The big disadvantage is that each site would ask you to have one. That would mean walking around with several keys. One for your bank, one for each credit card you have, one for paypal, one for ...

        That makes it useless in the end as it is unpractical to take all of these cards with you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      I think as we see an increase in cellphone usage for common internet tasks, the "out of band" benefits of this scheme are going to be lost for many people.

      • by mrjohnson (538567)
        Yes, but cellphones are locked down and patched by the carriers. And the limited memory, diverse hardware and software makes creating most typical Windows malware pretty impractical. In all, I'd much rather have users logging in from a cell phone than a Windows computer.
        • So, that recent SMS security vulnerability in all iPhones and Wince phones that let someone get remote root access by sending an SMS to the phone could have a use then...
    • by DavidTC (10147)

      The only type of attack that I think would work in this situation would be a man-in-the-middle attack, which is very unlikely as well.

      Actually, those attacks are some of the most relevant in Europe, where they've been doing that sort of stuff for a while.

      Although, strictly speaking, it's more 'man at your end', where they simply put trojans on systems that wait for you to, entirely legitimately, log into your account, and then simply send some money their way from your now-authenticated web browser.

    • Just for logging in? No security at all.

      The attack is inside your computer, manipulating the data that is sent between you and the bank, showing you bogus information. I have first hand proof of malware that does indeed manipulate the transfered amount and target account while displaying to you the correct account and amount.

      So unless the transaction itself is two-factored, i.e. you get an SMS with an authorization code for this specific transaction, sending not only the code but also the target account and

    • by b0bby (201198)

      I just did this on BoA's site. The problem is, once you're in the website, you can set up the SMS message thing. So your attacker gets in, changes it to send the SMS to a burner phone, or a Google Voice account, and your security is sidestepped. So what was the point again? The $20 device you can buy is a better option, but I don't want to pay for it, so I'm using the bogus option.

  • Cahoot in the UK (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Threni (635302) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @12:44PM (#29557893)

    I emailed Cahoot about a flaw in their system, about 5 times as it happens, over a period of months, but only ever received stock replies. What happens is: you attempt a login with username/password. Then you get to a screen where you select 2 letters from a second password via drop down boxes. If you get that second page wrong a few times it tells you that your account is locked and you have to contact them. But you don't - your account is not locked. You can simply attempt another login. So if you know someone's username/password (username is visible when someone logs in so you just have to know their first password), then you get as many guesses as you like of their second password, and it doesn't vary the 2 letters it wants from that one. The drop down list gives a-z and 0-9. 36 * 36 isn't very many guesses to have to attempt.

    • Why do you bank with them?

      Online banking with a single factor security is silly (two passwords are not two factors). I don't feel entirely safe with the code calculator my bank gives, but at least I know how to recognise large transactions (you can see by the way you have to enter the website verification number, not that they tell you that) so trojans could only ever hijack a small transaction.

    • Barclays had a similar flaw (now they have a little machine that generates one-time tokens). They asked for two letters from your secret word, but if you got them wrong then they asked for the same two letters again and again until you got them right. Given that most people choose real words for their secret word, you can use frequency analysis to guess these quite quickly (different letters have different probabilities of showing up at different locations in words).
  • Oooh, yooz no eeted it!

    kthxbye!

    P.S.: See, even the cats notice it!

  • Sweden rocks (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Depending on your bank in Sweden, you either got:

    * A user/pass combination that you input on their website. You then get a code that you input on a personal code generator thingy, and you get another code back that you enter on the website. (Downside: You need your code generator with you)

    * A user/pass combination and one-time-use codes that you scratch off a card that you carry with you. (Downside: You gotta order more codes after a while)

    * A digital ID encrypted on file, and a password that decrypts it. (

    • Re:Sweden rocks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jonbryce (703250) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:24PM (#29558219) Homepage

      In Britain you get

      Username (the most difficult thing to remember), password, and some top secret information like Mother's maiden name or date of birth.

      Or, some banks, mainly in the HBOS group, will send you a code by text message which you have to enter into the website. This is vulnerable to man in the middle attacks

      Some banks (Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Nationwide, Barclays) have a calculator sized device where you insert your debit card, type in your debit card pin number and a number displayed on the website, and get another number off the device which you enter into the website. Again, this is vulnerable to man in the middle attacks and apparently other sorts of attacks as well.

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:13PM (#29558145)

    Some businesses are starting to challenge the financial industry's position that they are not responsible for online banking losses from things like keystroke logging malware that attacks customer PCs

    How exactly is this the banks' responsibility? And if is a bank's responsibility, are they going to go into my PC to fix it?

    • by MeanMF (631837) * on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:18PM (#29558173) Homepage
      The point is that as long as banks are not responsible for the losses, they have no incentive to implement strong security measures on their websites. A large number of the current attacks on customer PCs could be eliminated if banks didn't let people do everything with just a username and password. Imagine how bad credit card fraud would be today (or how few people would use credit cards) if you were responsible for fraudulent use and not the bank.
      • by gordguide (307383) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:15PM (#29558651)

        " ... The point is that as long as banks are not responsible for the losses, they have no incentive to implement strong security measures on their websites. ..."

        Actually, it goes beyond that. As long as banks are not responsible for the losses, they have an incentive to weaken security in order to maximize the number of clients in the available pool of clients, who actively online bank.

        This lowers the cost of running the bank and therefore maximizes profits (which cannot be impacted by pesky requirements to provide compensation for breaches and customer losses via weak security).

      • The problem is that you want the bank to secure what they cannot secure: Your PC.

        I do not know of a single case of bank fraud where the fraud has been in any way connected to a security breach on the bank's side, and due to my work I know of a fair lot of fraud cases. Invariably the problem was on the customer's side. Either he willingly surrendered credentials to a con artist ("log in to this site NOW or your account gets frozen") or his machine has been compromised and either his credentials were logged a

        • by MeanMF (631837) *
          I'm not asking them to secure anybody's PC or home network. But there are measures that they can take on their web site to make it much more difficult for somebody to steal my money, even if my PC is completely compromised. Using an out-of-band confirmation would help. Another way would be to do anomaly detection - check IP addresses, transaction patterns, dollar amounts, where the money is going, etc. I'm sure there are other things they can do too.

          It's very similar to credit cards. Banks are on the
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The other problem is that the banks shunt *all* responsibility onto you. My parents were kind enough to begin investing in a mutual fund (for retirement..but not actually a retirement account) for me...when I was a child. That's some foresight. Not a lot of cash--I've already saved more in five years of working--it was mostly about teaching me the values of savings.

      In order to gain access to my account online and be able to manipulate things without a *ton* of paperwork, they require a form absolving th

    • Because the banks are the best placed to fix it.

    • And if is a bank's responsibility, are they going to go into my PC to fix it?

      Here in Luxembourg, some banks actually force you to have an insecure PC. So yes, in that case they should take responsibility if it gets broken into.

      • Pardon? Could you elaborate on this? This sounds like something I want to write an article about.

  • Go after microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bl8n8r (649187) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @01:23PM (#29558215)
    I'm concerned of the potential that malware has to disrupt civilian systems from stuff like waste treatment all the way to energy facilities. The same vulnerabilities that allow your bank creds to be pwned are the same one that could be used to disrupt systems we need for heat or clean water. There neds to be stiffer penalties for neglecting to fix security problems.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I disagree. Software vendors should not be accountable for their bugs, unless they agree to be accountable for them.

      from WinXP EULA [microsoft.com]:

      Well I was going to put a quote from the EULA here, showing the disclaimer of warranty, but slashdot doesn't like all caps, and wouldn't let me. It says:

      Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

      The GPL [gnu.org] also has a disclaimer of warranty, but slashdot wouldn't let me include that either.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        And also, food vendors should not be accountable for contamination, unless they agree to be accountable for it.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        That's bullshit right there, I can understand allowing software that's provided for free without any cost to the end user being free of liability, it seems fair that if you don't charge you shouldn't be financially liable. However, for companies like MS and those that are selling huge numbers of expensive product, there's no reason on earth why MS shouldn't be responsible if Windows has a bug that leads to real damage to the end user. At least around here, you'd still have to prove the damages to collect an
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      I'm concerned of the potential that malware has to disrupt civilian systems from stuff like waste treatment all the way to energy facilities. The same vulnerabilities that allow your bank creds to be pwned are the same one that could be used to disrupt systems we need for heat or clean water. There neds to be stiffer penalties for neglecting to fix security problems.

      Er, no. The fucktards that connect water, power, or sewage systems to the public Internet need to be taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot in the back of the head.

      • Hey, they learned from the best. After all, when God created humans, he connected the recreation center right to the waste disposal area.

        • Hey, they learned from the best. After all, when God created humans, he connected the recreation center right to the waste disposal area.

          That is an example of obsessive reuse of code, and repurposing it for something for which it was never intended.

    • by Arainach (906420)
      If software is required to be verified secure, the cost of development (and thus the cost of software) will increase by an order of magnitude if not more. For proof of that, look at how much it costs to develop software to NASA's standards. In addition, open-source software will cease to exist, or at the very least, will cease to exist in any visible context. Project participation will plummet once devs become financially liable for what they write. Be careful what you wish for.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      How is MS or any vendor of computer hard- or software responsible for user stupidity?

      Most of current malware infections are not due to an OS blunder or faulty software. It's social engineering, getting the user to launch a program he better not. From the obvious ones where you get an email from LAWYER telling you to open this attachment immediately and act OR ELSE, to the less obvious ones where you install a "crack" for something that also quietly installs a rootkit.

      How could any OS avoid this? By requirin

  • by shentino (1139071) on Sunday September 27, 2009 @02:59PM (#29558997)

    My two cents

    1) Why should the bank be held responsible for something that is clearly the customer's responsibility? I.e. securing their fucking computer?

    2) Maybe this will encourage folks to keep their computers locked down.

    Mind you, I think that the bank should bend over backwards to help catch the bad guys. However, they cannot and should not be expected to police their client's computers...and likewise expecting them to pony up for something they can't prevent is also unfair.

    The real enemy in this case, as usual, is the crook that did the hacking in the first place.

    • Wish I had mod points
    • My two cents

      1) Why should the bank be held responsible for something that is clearly the customer's responsibility? I.e. securing their fucking computer?

      2) Maybe this will encourage folks to keep their computers locked down.

      Mind you, I think that the bank should bend over backwards to help catch the bad guys. However, they cannot and should not be expected to police their client's computers...and likewise expecting them to pony up for something they can't prevent is also unfair.

      The real enemy in this case, as usual, is the crook that did the hacking in the first place.

      They can prevent it - or at least make it orders of magnitude more difficult for would-be thieves.

      It's a really simple security principle, something you know , and something you have .

      The what you know bit is what we're all used to, the username and password.

      The what you have is some physical device that generates an additional security key - or a digital signature for your transaction. What I got from ING was a DigiPass. You need to know a five digit PIN to use the device, at login you push the "I

      • Problem is where? A simple browser plugin can manipulate the data your get shown and the data that gets sent, before or after being encrypted, just as you need it.

        DigiPass or other forms of keychain-keylocks are useful to ensure nobody can log in but you, but they are not useful to ensure that no data manipulation takes place.

    • Say the bank does not implement basic security measures such as monitoring brute force attempts, and someone brute forces your account ... how are YOU gonna prove you didn't just post your password on myspace? You can't! Only the bank can! It's better to put the burden on them, and have them, in turn, enforce security measures on the clients, because the other way around cannot work, and would screw over even the few of us who have a clue about comp.sec.

      Also, I would like to take this opportunity to point o

      • Care to explain what "security measures" they should enforce on the client? Take control of his computer? Because anything short of this means that the bank cannot enforce anything.

        • They've already been mentioned: multi factor auth, out of band notification and confirmation (SMS, snailmail, phone), intrusion detection among other things.

          If the bank does not implement those, there's nothing you can do. So having the customer bear that burden is pointless.

          • How about doing something odd: Choosing a bank that offers better security.

            Why not let good ol' free market do its job. Banks with crappy security will cause their customers to lose money, that will instill fear in other customers, they will switch banks (or lose money, their choice), thus customers will see security as the key criterion when it comes to choosing the right bank to do online banking with, thus banks will not only implement better online banking but actually draw attention to their superior o

            • That's the part that makes the libertardians' dream of everything in a market a complete joke. You don't have access to that information. You CAN'T look at the god damn bank's web site design papers, or their source code or something.

              So I don't know why you're even bringing this up, because on top of that, 99.9999% of all bank customers (i.e: everyone) is incapable of evaluating a bank's computer security even if they had access to this info.

              Contrast this to putting that responsibility into the bank's hands

              • You're not able to audit online banking code. True. But are you dumb, deaf and blind? Do you think people will remain silent when their bank refuses to cover their loss? Don't you think some media outlet would greedily gobble up the story? The media live of angst, fear, doubt and horror stories, and if anything is one in this time and age, it's the loss of your life savings. They'll offer people to cover their loss for a tear soaked story of how horrible, horrible the bank was and they'll bring in some expe

                • ... have stronger regulations than in the US.

                  For example there is no subprime bullshit in my country, because the courts have consistently upheld the notion that when a banker lends money to someone who couldn't possibly pay back, it's their own fault because it's their job to find that out in the first place. They can suck their credit up.

                  So they don't lend to deadbeats. Sure, it's harder to get a loan, but there was no subprime bullshit here.

        • After reading the articles and this thread, I began to wonder whether banks should start distributing a read-only live-CD distribution that only contains the software needed to conduct online banking. In order to bank online, you'd have to reboot with the live CD. This eliminates the possibility of installed trojans and similar malware that might reside on the computer's hard drive.

          Obviously this is going to be seen as a pain in the neck by consumers, but maybe it makes sense for commercial accounts? Giv

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moridin42 (219670)

      1) The security of financial transactions isn't "clearly the customer's responsibility" .. it is a problem that exists because there are two parties. The bank is one. The customer is the other. Both can take steps to reduce losses. Customers can secure their fucking computers. Banks can secure the fucking web page. Neither party will capture all of the gains from improving security. So, to answer your question.. banks should be held responsible (for some, perhaps most, but not all) of this type of security

    • by owlstead (636356)

      Yes, let the security hinge on the real experts, the users! If you think this reply is too ironic, wait for my reply to the first one to propose to educate the users.

    • I do, of course, advocate that banks (or any other organization handling sensitive information) do all they can to secure their sites.

      * SSL certs
      * HTTPS encryption
      * DNSSEC
      * whatever else

      That goes without saying. But after the bank has done all it can to keep things secure, it's really not their fault if an end user gets their machine pwned.

      And putting the bank into the position of covering for losses they can't prevent is effectively forcing them to provide free insurance.

    • by ekhben (628371)

      My two responses:

      1. Why should the customer be held responsible for something that is clearly the bank's responsibility? ie, using a valid certificate, providing two-factor authentication of transactions, and instigating sensible daily transaction limits?
      2. A completely clean computer system is still vulnerable to infrastructure attacks such as homoglyphs, cache poisoning, and certificate fraud.

      Or, in other words, there should be responsibility and accountability on both sides of the exchange.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        I agree.

        Case 1 is entirely bank responsibility
        Case 2 is where the bank is responsible by default thanks to limitations of liability.

        What I disagree with is a customer with a malware infested machine getting freebie insurance from the bank.

        My opinion:

        The bank is presumably liable for all unauthorized transactions, but can escape liability if they prove the consumer was negligent. And having an insecure machine should be considered negligente.

        • by ekhben (628371)
          Not sure about your bank, but mine made sure that they disclaimed all responsibility when I signed up for online banking. Fortunately they do offer two-factor transaction authorisation, so a thief has to go to quite a bit more effort to get at my balance. I also have no idea how much responsibility the law (here in Australia) allows the bank to disclaim; typically one can't abrogate negligence via contract, but I sure wouldn't like to take a bank to court to find out.
        • That's either trivial or impossible, depending on how you implement it.

          If you let the bank go free if they can prove that your credentials issued an order, it's trivial. They log that already. I've seen those logs and I can tell you, paranoid doesn't even come close to describing WHAT they actually log. Every click you do on a bank webpage is logged. So it's trivial for them to follow the trail of every single transaction.

          If they have to prove without doubt that your machine was compromised when the fraud t

  • Stories like these make me glad I only log in from a Ubuntu LiveCD that I boot up solely for that purpose.

  • The problem IS THE BANKS!
    No matter how you look at it, the simple fact that their stance on identity theft and fraud prevention is this, what ever costs them less to maintain a working capital. If this capital goes down too much then they get driven to find a way to bring that back, however this might not be ...create the next foolproof system, it could very well be, find a way to disassociate yourself from the responsibility of
    being in control of your client's transactions.

    Did you know that the banks do no

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