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
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8891
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to escape the Java sandbox and execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors...

CVE-2014-8892
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to bypass intended access permissions and obtain sensitive information via un...

CVE-2015-1170
Published: 2015-03-06
The NVIDIA Display Driver R304 before 309.08, R340 before 341.44, R343 before 345.20, and R346 before 347.52 does not properly validate local client impersonation levels when performing a "kernel administrator check," which allows local users to gain administrator privileges via unspecified API call...

CVE-2015-1637
Published: 2015-03-06
Schannel (aka Secure Channel) in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 does not properly restrict TLS state transitions, which makes it easier for r...

CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.