Why Banker Bob (Still) Can't Get TLS Right: A Security Analysis of TLS in Leading UK Banking Apps [chapter]

Tom Chothia, Flavio D. Garcia, Chris Heppel, Chris McMahon Stone
2017 Lecture Notes in Computer Science  
This paper presents a security review of the mobile apps provided by the UK's leading banks; we focus on the connections the apps make, and the way in which TLS is used. We apply existing TLS testing methods to the apps which only find errors in legacy apps. We then go on to look at extensions of these methods and find five of the apps have serious vulnerabilities. In particular, we find an app that pins a TLS root CA certificate, but do not verify the hostname. In this case, the use of
more » ... ate pinning means that all existing test methods would miss detecting the hostname verification flaw. We also find one app that doesn't check the certificate hostname, but bypasses proxy settings, resulting in failed detection by pentesting tools. We find that three apps load adverts over insecure connections, which could be exploited for in-app phishing attacks. Some of the apps used the users' PIN as authentication, for which PCI guidelines require extra security, so these apps use an additional cryptographic protocol; we study the underlying protocol of one banking app in detail and show that it provides little additional protection, meaning that an active manin-the-middle attacker can retrieve the user's credentials, login to the bank and perform every operation the legitimate user could.
doi:10.1007/978-3-319-70972-7_33 fatcat:i4xhljpnyjftbkyfilpdsb7s7e