Risk
3/8/2012
01:31 PM
50%
50%

Security Holes Common In Customer-Facing Bank Apps

CRASH Report reveals that banks fall behind in making their customer-facing applications structurally sound and secure.

New York-based software analysis company Cast Software recently released its second annual CRASH (Cast Report on Application Software Health) report, a study of the structural quality--the engineering soundness of the architecture and coding--of business application software. The study examined 745 enterprise software applications in 160 organizations across industries.

For the banking industry, the most significant finding is that while most legacy core banking applications tend to be secure, the newer, customer-facing financial apps tend to have more structural flaws that could cause operational problems such as outages, performance degradation, breaches by unauthorized users, and data corruption.

Bill Curtis, senior VP at Cast Software and co-author of the CRASH report, said that there are a number of reasons for the disparity of structural soundness between older, back-end applications and newer, customer-facing apps. "These large legacy applications usually sit on mainframes and are not exposed to the Web. It's the exposure to the Internet that opens the doors for hackers to come in," he explained, adding, "For 30 or 40 years the IT people at banks have been trying to eliminate all of the security holes in these legacy applications. They've really been working hard over a long period of time and have gotten common weaknesses out of the apps."

The programming language used to write the application also makes a difference in its structural soundness, according to Curtis. He said that many financial core applications have been written in the mature COBOL programming language, while customer-facing apps are being written in newer languages that tend to be less secure.

On top of that, he noted, they're often built in several computer languages. "While developers often know a few languages very well, they don't know all of them," he says. "That makes it difficult to look at the entire app to make sure it's structurally sound."

The integration that modern, customer-facing apps require to operate introduces yet another challenge to achieving structural soundness, noted Curtis. "In the old days, we used to just build an application," he said. "Now that application interacts with a lot of other applications, which continues to create new ways to make mistakes. We're constantly learning about new problems."

Read the rest of this article on Bank Systems & Technology.

The effort to achieve and maintain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements remains one of the primary drivers behind many IT security initiatives. In our Security Via SOX Compliance report, we share 10 best practices to meet SOX security-related requirements and help ensure you'll pass your next compliance audit. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Bprince
50%
50%
Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
3/15/2012 | 1:56:36 AM
re: Security Holes Common In Customer-Facing Bank Apps
Curious as to what vulnerabilities are the most common
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
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-2014-8802
Published: 2015-01-23
The Pie Register plugin before 2.0.14 for WordPress does not properly restrict access to certain functions in pie-register.php, which allows remote attackers to (1) add a user by uploading a crafted CSV file or (2) activate a user account via a verifyit action.

CVE-2014-9623
Published: 2015-01-23
OpenStack Glance 2014.2.x through 2014.2.1, 2014.1.3, and earlier allows remote authenticated users to bypass the storage quote and cause a denial of service (disk consumption) by deleting an image in the saving state.

CVE-2014-9638
Published: 2015-01-23
oggenc in vorbis-tools 1.4.0 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (divide-by-zero error and crash) via a WAV file with the number of channels set to zero.

CVE-2014-9639
Published: 2015-01-23
Integer overflow in oggenc in vorbis-tools 1.4.0 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a crafted number of channels in a WAV file, which triggers an out-of-bounds memory access.

CVE-2014-9640
Published: 2015-01-23
oggenc/oggenc.c in vorbis-tools 1.4.0 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read) via a crafted raw file.

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.