02 July 2015

Administrative

Posts relating to the category tag "administrative" are listed below.

27 March 2015

Financial Conduct Authority Update March 2015

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is becoming more proactive in the online application space.

Photograph of one of the dragon boundary marks at the boundary of the City of London on Embankment

Following last year's consultation on use of social media, the FCA has completed its review and has now confirmed its approach for financial promotions in social media.

The finalised guidance has been published as FG15/4 - Social Media and Customer Communications: The FCA's Supervisory Approach to Financial Promotions in Social Media.

This covers web sites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking, including blogs, microblogs (e.g. Twitter), social and professional networks (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+), forums, and image and video-sharing platforms (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest. Any form of communication (including through social media) is capable of being a financial promotion, depending on whether it includes an invitation or inducement to engage in financial activity. So, for example, it would include 'advergames', where promotional messages are placed in entertainment applications.

On another matter, in addition to the document published in July on Considerations for Firms Thinking of Using Third-Party Technology (off-the-shelf) Banking Solutions, legal news blog Out-law.com reports the FCA is examining platforms' technology systems later this year.

The FCA is also consulting on proposed changes to its consumer credit rules and guidance. Almost a year ago on 1st April 2014 the FCA took over the regulation of consumer credit from the former Office of Fair Trading (OFT). This brought around 50,000 consumer credit firms into its scope.

And finally, the UK's new Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), launching next week and part of the FCA, has announced its regulatory framework for payment systems (summary factsheet). Customers of payment services providers may not be aware of this change — Card payment systems is in the 2015/16 programme of work.

Keep up-to-date with FCA and PSR news.

Posted on: 27 March 2015 at 08:40 hrs

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10 March 2015

Web Site Oops Roundup

Some news stories about web site security incidents caught my eye in the last week.

Photograph of a sign reading

These events outline some disappointing behaviour:

Not on your systems I hope!

Posted on: 10 March 2015 at 08:15 hrs

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06 March 2015

Introduction to AppSensor for Developers

Following the recent v2.0 code release and promotion to flagship status there has been increased interest in the OWASP AppSensor Project concerning application-specific real-time attack detection and response.

Front page of the new 'AppSensor Introduction for Developers'

During the OWASP podcast interview with project co-leader John Melton, the idea of creating briefings for target groups was discussed by podcast host Mark Miller. I am pleased to say that thought rolled onto the project's mailing list, and John Melton rapidly wrote and published the text copy.

I took that copy and additional suggestions by Louis Nadeau to design a two-page briefing document. This is available to download from the OWASP web site:

Please circulate this to software developers. The text is also available on CrowdIn if anyone would like to volunteer to translate the briefing, or the guide for that matter, into other languages..

We also plan to create a short guide for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), with content drawn primarily from the first few chapters of the existing AppSensor Guide v2.0.

Posted on: 06 March 2015 at 10:21 hrs

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03 March 2015

User Interface Modifications to Combat Buyer Fraud

A paper published for the 2015 Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Symposium in February describes user interface modification techniques to address liar buyer fraud, and the results of experiments assessing the potential for these to reduce ecommerce fraud losses.

Title from the paper 'Liar Buyer Fraud, and How to Curb It' by Markus Jakobsson, Hossein Siadati and Mayank Dhiman

Liar Buyer Fraud, and How to Curb It authors Markus Jakobsson, Hossein Siadati and Mayank Dhiman describe "liar buyer" fraud, how traditional anti-fraud technology fails to curb this problem, and details the results of experiments of proposed alternative techniques to reduce the problem.

The authors explain that liar buyer fraudsters are generally not repeat fraudsters, but are otherwise honest people who are first-time offenders that act fraudulently as the result of temporary poor judgement. This manifests itself in claims that deliveries were not made. It is believed that at least a quarter, and as much as half, of direct fraud affecting some organisations is the result of liar buyer fraud.

The ideas considered by the authors for their research involve changes to the user interface that promote user honesty:

  1. Disclosure that the customer's computer/device has been recognised
  2. Disclosure of the customer's location (e.g. IP address, post code or location map)
  3. Production of statements by the delivery person
  4. Simplifying methods of goods return
  5. Forcing the customer to make a promise
  6. Attending to angry and upset customers carefully.

The research focused on the first two of these and found they have a significant reduction in customer's willingness to file false claims. The other options look promising and, perhaps with the exception of the third approach, could be undertaken by real-world retailers in A/B/N testing.

Posted on: 03 March 2015 at 07:48 hrs

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20 February 2015

Two Factor Authentication for Many UK Domain Registrants

UK domain registry Nominet is offering increased identity authentication measures for access to its online services.

Partial screen capture of Nominet's online portal for authenticated registrants showing the domain listing that includes clerkendweller.co.uk and clerkendweller.uk

Nominet has enabled optional two-factor authentication (2FA) for online log in. Some organisations have had their web site availability affected by compromise of the domain name, rather than the application or host systems. If your company owns any domains administered by Nominet, you probably have at least one online account.

Nominet Online Services is a system that allows registrants to manage their domain name register entries, including transferring or cancelling a registration, notifying Nominet of a change of details, and moving a domain name to a new registrar. Check all the email addresses used across your domain portfolio, and log in or create accounts. Then enable 2FA. Ensure these credentials are managed by the company and not individuals, or third parties for that matter.

Nominet is responsible for:

  • Top level domains (TLD)
    • cymru
    • wales
    • uk
    • (but not .scot)
  • .uk second level domains (SLDs)
    • co.uk
    • ltd.uk
    • me.uk
    • net.uk
    • org.uk
    • plc.uk
  • .uk restricted
    • .nic.uk
    • .sch.uk

Nominet has also published a short guide to the process. You will also need to manage credentials in domain acquisition processes, employee starters and leavers processes, and in handling security incident events when a 2FA device is lost or stolen.

Of course, you should make sure the designated email accounts are also protected with strong passwords that are changed regularly, and also have two-factor authentication implemented themselves.

Posted on: 20 February 2015 at 13:10 hrs

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17 February 2015

AppSensor Now A Flagship OWASP Project

I was extremely pleased at the release of the v2 AppSensor reference implementation inJanuary. Now I am excited that the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has elevated the project's status.

Photograph of a green pendant flag flying against a blue sky

The completely voluntary OWASP project task force, led by Johanna Curiel, has been working through a backlog of project reviews. Over the last couple of years OWASP AppSensor Project has delivered significant steps in the coverage, quality, and depth of outputs. In fact it is also the only OWASP project that is both a documentation type of project, and a code one.

OWASP has promoted the project to the highest level - Flagship status. As co-leader with John Melton and Dennis Groves, and project founder Michael Coates, I am thrilled with this recognition.

OWASP's project inventory includes nine other Flagship projects and defines flagship status as:

The goal of OWASP Flagship projects is to identify, highlight, and support mainstream OWASP projects that make up a complete application security product of high quality and value to the software security industry. These projects are selected for their strategic value to OWASP and application security as a whole.

OWASP Flagship projects represent projects that are not only mature, but are also projects that OWASP as an organization provides direct support to maintaining. The core mission of OWASP is to make application security visible and so as an organization, OWASP has a vested interest in the success of its Flagship projects. Since Flagship projects have such high visibility, these projects are expected to uphold the most stringent requirements of all OWASP Projects.

It is important to remember all the people who have volunteered their time and effort to reach this stage. So many good and generous people.

Mark Miller has just interviewed John Melton about the OWASP AppSensor Project as part of the OWASP 24/7 podcast series. He provides an overview of application-specific attack detection and response, discusses what is new in version 2.0.0, explains the architectural options, describes the process flow, and mentions what else is on the roadmap.

AppSensor will be participating in this year's AppSec EU application security conference in Amsterdam, from 19th to 22nd May 2015. I hope you can make it.

Posted on: 17 February 2015 at 07:55 hrs

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10 February 2015

NIST SP 800-163 Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications

In the last of my run of three mobile app related posts, US standards body National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released Special Publication (SP) 800-163 Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications.

One of the tables from NIST SP 800-163 'Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications' showing top level general categories of iOS app vulnerabilities

SP 800-163 is for organisations that plan to implement a mobile app vetting process or consume app vetting results from other parties. It is also intended for developers that are interested in understanding the types of software vulnerabilities that may arise in their apps during the software development life cycle (SDLC). The report is grouped into planning, testing and app approval/rejection sections:

  • Planning
    • Security requirements
    • Understanding vetting limitations
    • Budget and staffing
  • Testing
    • General app security requirements
    • Testing approaches
    • Sharing results
  • App approval/rejection
    • Report and risk auditing
    • Organisation-specific vetting criteria
    • Final approval/rejection.

The guidance is practical and highlights risks that are mobile app specific as well as general application security risks. Appendices B & C provide helpful categorised lists of Android and iOS mobile app vulnerability types respectively.

Posted on: 10 February 2015 at 07:48 hrs

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02 February 2015

CMA Consultations on Consumer Data

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has two current related consultations.

Photograph of a yellow pendant flag flying on a mask against a blue sky

Data Sharing and Open Data in Banking

Following the publication of the report Data Sharing and Open Data for Banks in December 2014 which examined how financial technology firms can make better use of bank data on behalf of customers through application programming interfaces (APIs) and open data, the government is now seeking views on how an open API standard could be delivered in UK banking.

The call for evidence describes evidence is sought from banks, consumer groups, financial services providers, card schemes, payment institutions, financial technology firms and app and software designers. In particular views are sought about how the recommendations in the report should be developed, what benefits more open data in banking could bring to consumers and how an open API standard in UK banking could best be delivered.

The Data Sharing and Open Data in Banking call for evidence closes on 25th February 2015. Responses can be sent by email to Datasharing.CfE@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk or by post to Data Sharing and Open Data in Banking, Banking and Credit Team, HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ.

The Commercial Use of Consumer Data

The CMA is also seeking information on the commercial collection and use of UK consumers' data, and the implications (benefits and risks) for firms and consumers.

The briefing document details the scope as UK consumer data collected both inside and outside the UK in the context of the internet and more widely; collected directly by businesses as well as by appliances, applications and cloud services; collected at any time, both with and without the knowledge of consumers; includes both data on specific transactions for goods and services (including paid for and free-at-use services) as well as data not specific to such transactions; and used by firms dealing directly with consumers (for instance to target groups and individuals with offers), and third party firms (using data sourced from firms dealing directly with consumers) who analyse this data to provide commercial services to other firms.

The consultation on Commercial Use of Consumer Data closes at 5pm on Friday 6 March 2015. Responses can be submitted using the online form or by completing a form and returning to ConsumerData@cma.gsi.gov.uk or by post to Consumer Data Call for Information, Competition and Markets Authority, 7th floor Victoria House, 37 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4AD.

Posted on: 02 February 2015 at 10:32 hrs

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23 January 2015

Undertaking by Office for Data Protection Act Breach

UK privacy regulator The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published details of its enforcement action against shoe retailer Office.

Partial screen capture of a page from Office e-commerce website www.office.co.uk

The action relates to the unauthorised access of more than a million customer records on a legacy system that was not being protected adequately.

Office Holdings Ltd has signed an undertaking to comply with the fifth (retention) and seventh (security) data protection principles.

The undertaking requires Office to:

  • Undertake regular penetration testing of its websites and servers
  • Implement new data protection policy documents, including a retention and disposal policy for customer data
  • Provide initial and refresher formal data protection training to all Office employees
  • Implement any other security measures as necessary to protect personal data
  • Only retain personal data as long as necessary.

Office seem lucky not to have been fined. There is nothing above that they shouldn't already have been doing and "exposure of decommissioned software/services" is one of the most common classes of IT security vulnerabilities in online systems that result in failures to secure personal data identified by the ICO last May. This document was published by the ICO at about the same time as the Office incident occurred so I think other retailers have been warned and would not be treated as lightly for a similar breach now.

Posted on: 23 January 2015 at 08:34 hrs

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14 January 2015

Application Security and Privacy Mapping 2015

I have updated my chart detailing the most important guidance, standards, legislation and organisations that can influence mobile and web application development security and privacy in the UK.

Principal Influences on UK Web Applications' mind map diagram for January 2015

For a fuller explanation, read my post about the update last October.

Access the Principal Influences on UK Applications 2015 chart, hosted on my company's web site.

Posted on: 14 January 2015 at 10:39 hrs

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Administrative : Application Security and Privacy
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