Massive bank app security holes: You might want to go back to that money under the mattress tactic

A new report from a well-regarded payments consulting firm has found a lengthy list of security insanity while examining several major fintech company mobile apps. Although the very nature of apps that manage and move money would suggest presumably strong security, banks and their cohorts tend to adopt new technology slower than almost any other vertical, which puts them in a bad place when it comes to security.

My favorite finding from the Aite Group report: “Several mobile banking apps hard-coded private certificates and API keys into their apps. [Thieves] could exploit this by copying the private certificates to their computers and running any number of free password-cracking programs against them,” the report noted. “Should the [attackers] successfully crack the private key, they would be able to decrypt all communication between the back-end servers and mobile devices, among other things. The API keys allow an adversary to then begin targeting the [financial institution’s] API servers, gaining them access to data in the back-end databases. This allows [attackers] to authenticate the device with the back-end servers of that app, since this is what APIs use for authentication and authorization.”

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