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HSBC’s online bank could be fraud risk, researchers say

Scientists at the University of Cardiff, UK, have said that they believe there are serious security flaws in HSBC's UK personal online banking service.

The researchers say that if hackers use comparatively easily available keystroke-logging equipment on vulnerable computers, then they could gain access to accountholders’ details within as few as five attempts.

The Daily Mail newspaper reports that the research team decided to go public with the revelations because of their serious implications, instead of waiting to publish in an academic journal later this year.

However HSBC insists that it does not have a problem with internet banking fraud when compared to its peers, and claims that any kind of fraud of this nature would require both considerable amount of time dedicated to it and a level of sophistication that would deter most criminals.

[This type of attack] involves a fraudster targeting a single customer over the course of a few days, a HSBC spokesman was quoted as saying by the BBC. The reality is that it would be more profitable for that fraudster to concentrate his or her efforts elsewhere.

However the bank has said that it will work with experts in the field to conduct a review of its online security, implying that it could change its systems as a result of the expose.