Updated again 12/19/08 (see end of post)
Our third entrant in the Online Finance Flaws series is one that truly perturbs me.
American Express came to my attention when setting up an online access account I was prompted to REDUCE the amount of characters in my password to eight or less. What?!
Luckily, my partner in alerting you to the absurd, Rafal Los, covered this issue nicely in May.
Of course, prompted by my irritation, I challenged myself to see what other truly inane security "features" American Express might be offering.
Here's where the trouble begins.
I kid you not, thirty seconds later, I found a new cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability right off the American Express primary search script (not one of three already posted on XSSed.com).
Three minutes later , in the TMI department, I discovered a most informative 500 error page exception indicating that American Express uses the Vignette CMS product via Apache and IBM's WebSphere.
Before I validate these findings please allow me to point you to the American Express data security page.
Key language includes:
"American Express is proud to be a founding member of the PCI Security Standards Council. The Council is designed to manage the ongoing evolution of the PCI Data Security Standard and to foster its broad adoption industry-wide. Through our participation with the Council, American Express continues our commitment to diligently pursue all aspects of data security."
Let me spell this out for you.
A founding member of the PCI Security Standards Council is itself in violation of PCI DSS 6.5.4.
This does little for my faith in American Express "data security", or the PCI Security Standards Council for that matter.
Finally, as always, I followed my terms of engagement in reporting these findings to American Express and was ignored by everyone including a director in their information security organization.
A video of both issues is here.
Should you prefer screen shots...an American Express XSS cookie grab:
Or the phishing warning:
Finally, my favorite, an IFRAME insertion of the VISA web site. Oops!
Oh yes, the 500 error, if you're still with me:
Is it wrong of me to expect more of credit card companies with claims to founding the PCI Security Standards Council? I think not.
Please contact American Express and register your own complaint. This is simply unacceptable.
Update 1100 hours 12/17/08:
American Express has made repairs regarding the XSS vulnerability, and has replied to Dan at The Register.
Additionally, this Computerworld article is just too silly and timely to not share in the context of our discussion. May the irony amuse you as much as it did me.
Update 2015 hours 12/19/08:
Repairs as indicated 12/17 now proven to be "repair" as variants galore arise.
Dan G. at The Register exposes research from at least two sources proving once again that one-off repairs are worthless when compared to a global approach.
Makes me wonder what this means for AmEx's stock.
Well done, fellow researchers. Well done.
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