You can't secure what you don't acknowledge.SM

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New way of entering online passwords for brokerage houses

I just heard on the Clark Howard radio show that online brokerage firms are moving towards Web authentication technologies that require you to enter your password with your mouse. This is presumably to help keep the bad guys from gleaning your login credentials using keystroke loggers.

I hear about this all the time - especially in the brokerage industry - where the bad guys capture your user name and password (off a malware-infected computer, via an unprotected wireless network, or some other lame Web application vulnerability that the brokerage house hasn't bothered to discover) and then execute the equivalent of an online pump and dump scheme. The criminals login, sell lots of the victim's current shares of stock (typically penny stocks), and then use that money to buy junk stocks the criminal owns to effectively "pump" up the value. Once the value goes up, the criminal sells his shares of the junk stock and makes off with tons of cash.

Can you believe that out of ALL the government regulations we have for computer privacy and security and that there's nothing to protect the consumer against this!?

I suspect we'll eventually see regulations protecting consumers against this. Given the arms race between the bad guys and everyone else, I'm sure we'll also see ways to exploit this "mouse authentication" process as well.

Ah, the joys of information security...

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