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Innovation in Information Security

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The Trials of Being a Bank

Being a bank and maintaining a secure online presence when there are many people out to defraud you and your customers is somewhat difficult, at least that is what some people would have you believe. Whether it is attackers trying to actively hack into sensitive systems, phishing attacks against account holders, denial of service attacks against core services, or a range of other viable attack options, banks need to be constantly aware of the risks and threats to their services.

Sometimes the problem comes from within.

As reported by The Australian IT section, account holders with the Bank of Queensland suddenly found that they were randomly unable to access their online services during peak periods. Apparently traceable to a software problem (though both knowing and not knowing the cause of the issue seems to be a problem, too), the bank is currently working at top speed to address the issues that are preventing around 20% of access attempts from succeeding.

To address the problem, the bank indicated that it would be preventing additional connections from being made at peak times in order to relieve some of the pressure on the system.

While it might seem strange that a software problem could suddenly cause connection problems, with modern computer and network systems being so complex there are multiple different ways that a minor change could propagate through the system and cause disproportionate system failure or modification.

With IT personnel working extended hours to address the issue, the bank is confident that it will have the congestion problem resolved within the next couple of days.

3 August 2007

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