Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

8/20/2019
12:50 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Fintech Startups Get Sloppy With Application Security

Some startups need to shape up or ship out.

British security firm Immuniweb has looked at CB Insights' report entitled "The Fintech 250: The Top Fintech Startups Of 2018" to identify 250 financial tech companies that are still in their early development stages. The report aimed to shed some light on the overall state of web and application security of the fintech companies and compare it with the results of traditional banks.

Immuniweb did similar research on banks which they reported out as "State of Application Security at S&P Global World's 100 Largest Banks," so they do have some experience in analyzing the financial sector.

This time, they come to some sweeping conclusions. For instance, they found 100% of the companies that they looked at have security, privacy and compliance issues related to abandoned or forgotten web applications, APIs and subdomains.

The severity of those issues may vary greatly, with few websites actually failing the tests. A fail would have meant "Exploitable and publicly known security vulnerabilities found."

As far as website security, two main startup websites had the highest "A+" grades both for (1) SSL encryption and (2) website security fully meeting applicable PCI DSS and GDRP compliance requirements. On other websites, Immmuniweb found 64 security issues related to outdated web software or its components. One website had as many as 17 outdated JS libraries and other external software components.

Subdomains were in worse shape for security. There were 2,474 outdated software components across the tested subdomains. The oldest vulnerable CMS is WordPress 4.7.1, with 26 publicly known security issues so far.

SSL/TLS was well implemented by the sites across the board. Only one main website scored with a "B" grade, while all others received "A" or even the highest possible "A+" grades.

But the situation with HTTPS encryption on the subdomains is "alarming," according to Immuniweb. As many as 93 subdomains had the failing "F" grade, and 537 had an untrusted or expired SSL certificate.

GDPR tests were abysmal. As the report says, "64 main websites failed the GDPR compliance test. After vulnerable web software, the second most frequent reason is a missing cookie disclaimer or unset security flags on cookies that transfer tracking, PII or otherwise sensitive information. The third top cause is missing or inaccessible privacy policy." Looks like a lot of work is needed there, and the subdomains as well.

The report looks at fintech's mobile applications too. They found 100% of the mobile applications contained at least one medium-risk security vulnerability, 97% of the mobile applications had two or more medium-risk vulnerabilities, and 3% of the mobile applications contained at least one high-risk security vulnerability. Yikes. While the report offers more detail, the theme stays the same. These startups have to concentrate on their business or they, in time, will lose their customers.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Data Breaches Affect the Enterprise
Data breaches continue to cause negative outcomes for companies worldwide. However, many organizations report that major impacts have declined significantly compared with a year ago, suggesting that many have gotten better at containing breach fallout. Download Dark Reading's Report "How Data Breaches Affect the Enterprise" to delve more into this timely topic.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-24918
PUBLISHED: 2021-11-29
The Smash Balloon Social Post Feed WordPress plugin before 4.0.1 did not have any privilege or nonce validation before saving the plugin's setting. As a result, any logged-in user on a vulnerable site could update the settings and store rogue JavaScript on each of its posts and pages.
CVE-2021-24927
PUBLISHED: 2021-11-29
The My Calendar WordPress plugin before 3.2.18 does not sanitise and escape the callback parameter of the mc_post_lookup AJAX action (available to any authenticated user) before outputting it back in the response, leading to a Reflected Cross-Site Scripting issue
CVE-2017-20008
PUBLISHED: 2021-11-29
The myCred WordPress plugin before 1.7.8 does not sanitise and escape the user parameter before outputting it back in the Points Log admin dashboard, leading to a Reflected Cross-Site Scripting
CVE-2021-24745
PUBLISHED: 2021-11-29
The About Author Box WordPress plugin before 1.0.2 does not sanitise and escape the Social Profiles field values before outputting them in attributes, which could allow user with a role as low as contributor to perform Cross-Site Scripting attacks.
CVE-2021-24748
PUBLISHED: 2021-11-29
The Email Before Download WordPress plugin before 6.8 does not properly validate and escape the order and orderby GET parameters before using them in SQL statements, leading to authenticated SQL injection issues