Most Bank Sites Insecure

Most Bank Sites Are Insecure, InformationWeek reports:

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.

It’ll be interesting to see if the report really gets into it or does nothing but promote hiring its authors as usability experts.

I don’t find it shocking, though, as I know the number of possible test cases for any financial application are near infinite and the amount of testing time for them is near nil.  I’ve had limited call to test financial applications, and in all situations the testing period ends before I scratch the surface of the permutations in interactions between the interface, the design, and the partnering applications.

Which is why I don’t bank online, come to think of it.

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