Risk
3/8/2013
01:25 PM
50%
50%

Royal Bank Of Scotland Glitch Tests Customer Loyalty

Managers at The Royal Bank of Scotland have red faces after second IT crash in less than a year annoys millions of customers.

IT problems have flared up again at one of the U.K.'s biggest retail banking chains, less than nine months after a three-day total system blackout.

For at least three hours on Wednesday night, customers of NatWest, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland found themselves unable to access their accounts either by phone or online. (All three are brands of The Royal Bank of Scotland, a commercial operation that is majority-owned by the British state following its near collapse during the 2008 banking crisis.)

According to The Guardian, the problem continued well into Thursday morning for some customers. Indeed, this week's problem seems to be in many ways a throwback to the snafu earlier this year, in which British checking account customers were unable to pay their mortgages, settle debts, or even withdraw cash for food, and which left some customers arguing over missed transactions even weeks later. This time, however, the bank denies that the problem is software-related.

[ What are U.K. companies' most pressing security concerns? Read U.K. Public Sector's Top Security Worries. ]

Further stoking customers' anger is the fact that so far the bank seems unwilling to accommodate those who, through no fault of their own, may now face problems on their credit scores and other issues resulting from the glitch.

According to The Guardian, a member of campaign group Move Your Money -- which describes itself as "a national campaign to spread the message that we can help to build a better banking system" – described the downtime as "like [the movie] 'Groundhog Day.'"

In its formal response, the bank said, "We are disappointed that our customers have faced disruption to banking services for a period on Wednesday evening, and apologize for that. All services are now running as normal again." It did not offer any more details about the disruption or how it had been resolved.

However, NatWest reportedly told an IT news site that a "hardware fault" on one of its IBM zSeries mainframes was responsible for blocking customers' access to ATMs and online banking services. (Since branches were closed at that time of night, customers were also unable to interact with tellers.)

The same IT site claims that last year's three-day emergency was due to human error -- allegedly, an employee "hit the wrong button" during what should have been a routine overnight batch job using banking software from CA Technologies to update a system handling inbound payments.

The problems that occurred last June raised an almighty stink in the U.K., and two brownouts may end up being one too many for the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Twittersphere is full of customers swearing to move their business to rivals: "Disgraceful service. Am moving my banking to Santander! You cannot be trusted with our money!!!"

All in all, it's quite amazing in 2013 to see Tier One banks having so many technical problems -- and responding to them with such poor PR.

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and a campaigner for sensible information policy, will present the keynote address at Black Hat Europe 2013. Black Hat Europe will take place March 12-15 at The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
PJS880
50%
50%
PJS880,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2013 | 8:44:29 PM
re: Royal Bank Of Scotland Glitch Tests Customer Loyalty
I can tell you that if I had all my money stored in a banking facility that was unavailable to me for a number of hours I would no longer be one of their customers. Money is something that you cannot give a second chance of risk for, it may not be available for lack of funds. If you were still customer of the banks after the first episode 3 years ago and were a victim the second time, that is your fault for trusting unreliable sources. Lets see how many customers will let it happen three times.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8148
Published: 2015-01-26
The default D-Bus access control rule in Midgard2 10.05.7.1 allows local users to send arbitrary method calls or signals to any process on the system bus and possibly execute arbitrary code with root privileges.

CVE-2014-8157
Published: 2015-01-26
Off-by-one error in the jpc_dec_process_sot function in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image, which triggers a heap-based buffer overflow.

CVE-2014-8158
Published: 2015-01-26
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in jpc_qmfb.c in JasPer 1.900.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted JPEG 2000 image.

CVE-2014-9571
Published: 2015-01-26
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admin/install.php in MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) admin_username or (2) admin_password parameter.

CVE-2014-9572
Published: 2015-01-26
MantisBT before 1.2.19 and 1.3.x before 1.3.0-beta.2 does not properly restrict access to /*/install.php, which allows remote attackers to obtain database credentials via the install parameter with the value 4.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.