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List of UK banks that are “secure by default”

By , December 13, 2017 3:02 pm

Not the usual software post today. Something about website security, because that affects everyone. In particular I’m going to talk about the security of online banks and related organisations.

This post has been updated since I first wrote it. 3 banks have been added.

Natwest Online Banking

Two days ago I became aware that National Westminster Bank Plc’s website was not secure. The bits that do the online banking are secure, but the main website, which links to the secure bit, that isn’t secure. This is important because if the non-secure bits get compromised, by a man-in-the-middle attack, or by scripts injected into the site by your ISP then that can provide a means for compromising the access to the secure part of the website.

This important because although your bank may say go to this special page to login, that isn’t how people work. People remember the easy bit (the company name, say “Natwest” in this case), go to that website and then navigate from there to get to the login page. Because of this the whole site needs to be secure.

I raised this with Natwest via twitter, whose customer support team didn’t understand the issue. Which is understandable. I chained Troy Hunt in on the discussion, as he is a well known security researcher. A few hours later this all blew up on twitter and my notifications just became a blur as lots of people effectively told Natwest they were wrong. As I write this, it is still going strong.

One respondent even produced a video showing you a simulation of how this could be done. It’s not the same because he’s modifying his own page in the browser, but it is equivalent in many respects to how a man-in-the-middle-attack would work and is useful for non technical people to understand. His video is in this tweet. Scott Helme went a step further and created a video of the secure Natwest web page loading without any security, because the security had been removed.

Troy Hunt has written up a detailed post on the technical side of this.

Is it only Natwest?

I thought it would be interesting to look at each bank in the UK to see if when you visit their company homepage, is that secure by default? That is, is the page loaded by HTTPS? There are more tests than this that you could do, but that’s the baseline. If they can’t meet that then the other tests are meaningless.

Some banks provide the website in both http and https versions. This is bad practice. If someone visits the website as http then the customer should be served the https version of the page.

Also please note, these test results are for a desktop computer visiting the website. A mobile phone may well get a different experience. In other words desktop visitors may get a secure site, but mobile visitors might not. Or vice versa.

The results list the bank name, if the home page is secure or not and the URL of the page deemed to be the home page for the test.

The following key is used for the secure status:

Yes The site is secure, loaded via https
Dual The site can be loaded via http, or via https.
Invalid The site loads via https, but the security certificate is invalid and thus the site is insecure.
Partial The site loads via https, but loads some parts of the page without https. The site is insecure.
No The site is loaded via http, not via https.
Fixed The site is loaded via https, but at the time of first writing it was loaded via http.
?? We could not find a website to evaluate.

Where possible we’ve tried to identify the appropriate home page (or equivalent) for each bank. In a few occasions that wasn’t possible to do.

We tested 163 UK banks. We found 60 banks that did not have a secure home page (not https or did have https with an invalid security certificate). That is 37% of UK banks have security vulnerabilities. Since publishing this article, 6 banks have responded by fixing their security.

Bank Secure Home Page
Abbey National Treasury Services Plc Yes https://www.santander.co.uk/uk/about-santander-uk/investor-relations/abbey-national-treasury-services-plc
ABC International Bank Plc Yes https://www.bank-abc.com/world/ABCIB/en/Pages/default.aspx
Access Bank UK Limited Yes https://www.theaccessbankukltd.co.uk/
Adam & Company Plc Yes https://www.adambank.com/
ADIB (UK) Ltd No http://www.adib.co.uk/en/Pages/default.aspx
Ahli United Bank (UK) PLC No http://www.ahliunited.com/
AIB Group (UK) Plc Yes https://group.aib.ie/
Airdrie Savings Bank Yes https://airdriesavingsbank.com/
Al Rayan Bank PLC Yes https://www.alrayanbank.co.uk/
Aldermore Bank Plc Yes https://www.aldermore.co.uk/
Alliance Trust Savings Limited No http://www.alliancetrustsavings.co.uk/
Alpha Bank London Limited No http://www.alpha-bank.uk/
ANZ Bank (Europe) Limited Yes https://www.anz.com/unitedkingdom/en/personal/
Arbuthnot Latham & Co Limited No http://www.arbuthnotlatham.co.uk/
Atom Bank PLC Yes https://www.atombank.co.uk/
Axis Bank UK Limited Yes https://www.onlineaxisbankuk.co.uk
Bank and Clients PLC No http://www.bankandclients.com/
Bank Leumi (UK) plc No http://www.bankleumi.co.uk/
Bank Mandiri (Europe) Limited No http://www.bkmandiri.co.uk/
Bank of America Merrill Lynch International Limited Yes https://www.bofaml.com/content/boaml/en_us/home.html
Bank of Baroda Yes https://www.bankofbaroda.com/
Bank of Beirut (UK) Ltd No https://www.bankofbeirut.co.uk
Bank of Ceylon (UK) Ltd No http://www.bankofceylon.co.uk/
Bank of China (UK) Ltd No http://www.bankofchina.com/uk/
Bank of Communications (UK) No http://www.uk.bankcomm.com/BankCommSite/shtml/ygzh/en/8848/list.shtml?channelId=8848
Bank of Cyprus UK Limited No http://www.bankofcyprus.co.uk/
Bank of India No http://www.bankofindia.co.in/english/home.aspx
Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc Invalid https://bankofirelanduk.com/
Bank of London and The Middle East plc Yes https://www.blme.com/
Bank of New York Mellon (International) Limited Yes https://www.bnymellon.com/uk/en/index.jsp
Bank of Scotland plc Yes https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/
Bank of the Philippine Islands (Europe) Yes https://www.bpiexpressonline.com/p/0/165/bpi-europe
Bank Saderat Plc No http://www.saderat-plc.com/
Bank Sepah International Plc Yes https://www.banksepah.co.uk/
Barclays Bank Plc Yes https://www.barclays.co.uk/
BFC Exchange Ltd Yes https://www.bfcexchange.co.uk/
BIRA Bank Ltd Yes https://bira.co.uk/services/bank/
BMCE Bank International plc No http://www.bmce-intl.co.uk/disclaimer.html
British Arab Commercial Bank Plc Yes https://www.bacb.co.uk/
Brown Shipley & Co Limited Yes https://www.brownshipley.com/
C Hoare & Co Yes https://www.hoaresbank.co.uk/
CAF Bank Ltd Yes https://secure.cafbank.org/
Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited Yes https://ccbank.co.uk/
Cater Allen Limited Yes https://www.caterallen.co.uk/
Charity Bank Limited Yes https://charitybank.org/
Charter Court Financial Services Limited No http://www.chartercourtfs.co.uk/
China Construction Bank (London) Limited No http://www.uk.ccb.com/london/en/index.html
CIBC World Markets Plc No http://www.cibcwm.com/cibc-eportal-web/portal/wm?pageId=home&language=en_CA
ClearBank Ltd Yes https://www.clear.bank/
Close Brothers Limited Yes https://www.closebrothers.com/
Clydesdale Bank Plc CYBG plc No http://www.cybg.com/
Co-operative Bank Plc Dual http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/
Coutts & Company Yes https://www.coutts.com/
Credit Suisse (UK) Limited Yes https://www.credit-suisse.com/uk/en.html
Credit Suisse International Credit Suisse Yes https://www.credit-suisse.com/uk/en/investment-banking/financial-regulatory/international.html
Crown Agents Bank Limited No http://www.crownagentsbank.com/
DB UK Bank Limited Yes https://www.db.com/unitedkingdom/
Diamond Bank (UK) Plc Yes https://diamondbankukplc.com/
Duncan Lawrie Limited No http://www.camellia.plc.uk/duncan-lawrie
EFG Private Bank Limited Yes https://www.efgl.com/
Europe Arab Bank plc Yes https://www.eabplc.com/
First Direct No http://www1.firstdirect.com/1/2/
FBN Bank (UK) Ltd No http://www.fbnbank.co.uk/
FCE Bank Plc No http://www.fcebank.com/
FCMB Bank (UK) Limited Yes https://www.fcmbuk.com/
Gatehouse Bank Plc No http://www.gatehousebank.com/
GE Capital Bank Limited GE Capital No http://www.gecapital.co.uk/en/
Ghana International Bank Plc No http://www.ghanabank.co.uk/
Goldman Sachs International Bank No http://www.goldmansachs.com/
Guaranty Trust Bank (UK) Limited Yes https://www.gtbankuk.com/
Gulf International Bank (UK) Limited Yes https://www.gib.com/
Habib Bank Zurich Plc No http://www.habibbank.com/uk/home/ukHome.html
Habibsons Bank Limited No http://habibbankuk.com/
Halifax Fixed http://www.halifax.co.uk/
Hampden & Co Plc Yes https://www.hampdenandco.com/
Hampshire Trust Bank Plc Yes https://www.htb.co.uk/
Harrods Bank Ltd Yes https://www.harrodsbank.co.uk/
Havin Bank Ltd No http://www.havanaintbank.co.uk/
HSBC Bank Plc Yes https://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/
HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited Yes https://www.hsbcprivatebank.com/en
HSBC Trust Company (UK) Ltd ??
ICBC (London) plc No http://www.icbclondon.com/icbc/%E6%B5%B7%E5%A4%96%E5%88%86%E8%A1%8C/%E5%B7%A5%E9%93%B6%E4%BC%A6%E6%95%A6%E7%BD%91%E7%AB%99/en/
ICBC Standard Bank Plc Yes https://www.icbcstandardbank.com/CorporateSite
ICICI Bank UK Plc No http://www.icicibank.co.uk/
Investec Bank PLC Yes https://www.investec.com/en_gb.html
Itau BBA International PLC Yes https://www.itau.com.br/itaubba-en
J.P. Morgan Europe Limited Yes https://www.jpmorgan.com/country/GB/en/jpmorgan
J.P. Morgan International Bank Limited ??
J.P. Morgan Securities plc Yes https://www.jpmorgansecurities.com/
Jordan International Bank Plc No http://www.jordanbank.co.uk/
Julian Hodge Bank Limited Yes https://www.hodgebank.co.uk/
Kexim Bank (UK) Ltd No http://srssprojects.in/aboutus.html
Kingdom Bank Ltd Yes https://www.kingdom.bank/
Kleinwort Benson Bank Ltd Yes https://www.kleinworthambros.com/en/
Kookmin Bank International Limited Yes https://www.kbfg.com/Eng/
Lloyds Bank Plc Yes https://www.lloydsbank.com/
Lloyds Bank Private Banking Limited Fixed http://www.lloydsbank.com/private-banking/home.asp
Lloyds Banking Group No http://www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/
Macquarie Bank International Ltd Yes https://www.macquarie.com/uk/corporate
Marks & Spencer Financial Services Plc Yes https://bank.marksandspencer.com/
Masthaven Bank Limited Yes https://www.masthaven.co.uk/
Melli Bank plc No http://www.mellibank.com/
Methodist Chapel Aid Limited Yes https://www.mcafundingforchurches.co.uk/
Metro Bank PLC Yes https://www.metrobankonline.co.uk/
Mizuho International Plc Yes https://www.mizuho-emea.com/
Monzo Bank Ltd Yes https://monzo.com/
Morgan Stanley Bank International Limited Yes https://www.morganstanley.com/
National Bank of Egypt (UK) Limited No http://www.nbeuk.com/
National Bank of Kuwait (International) Plc Yes https://nbk.com/
National Westminster Bank Plc Fixed http://personal.natwest.com/
Natwest International Fixed http://www.natwestinternational.com/nw/personal-banking.ashx
Nationwide Building Society Yes https://www.nationwide.co.uk/
Nomura Bank International Plc No http://www.nomura.com/
Northern Bank Limited No http://danskebank.co.uk/personal
Northern Trust Global Services Ltd Yes https://www.northerntrust.com/
OakNorth Bank Limited Yes https://www.oaknorth.com/
OneSavings Bank Plc No http://www.osb.co.uk/
Paragon Bank Plc Yes https://www.paragonbank.co.uk/
PCF Group Holdings Ltd Yes https://pcf.bank/
Persia International Bank Plc No http://persiabank.co.uk/
Philippine National Bank (Europe) Plc No http://www.pnb.com.ph/europe/
Punjab National Bank (International) Limited Yes https://www.pnbint.com/
QIB (UK) Plc Yes https://www.qib-uk.com/en/index.aspx
R. Raphael & Sons Plc Yes https://www.raphaelsbank.com/
Rathbone Investment Management Limited Yes https://www.rathbones.com/
RBC Europe Limited No http://www.rbc.com/contactus/rbc_europe.html
Reliance Bank Ltd No http://www.reliancebankltd.com/
Revolut Yes https://www.revolut.com/?lang=en
Royal Bank of Scotland Plc No http://personal.rbs.co.uk/personal.html
Sainsbury’s Bank Plc Yes https://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/
Santander UK Plc Yes https://www.santander.co.uk/uk/index
Schroder & Co Ltd No http://www.schroders.com/
Scotiabank Europe Plc No http://www.scotiabank.com/global/en/0,,6182,00.html
Scottish Widows Bank Plc No http://www.scottishwidows.co.uk/bank/
Secure Trust Bank Plc Yes https://www.securetrustbank.com/
SG Hambros Bank Limited Yes https://www.societegenerale.co.uk/en/worldwide-details/office/head-office/
Shawbrook Bank Limited Yes https://www.shawbrook.co.uk/
Smith & Williamson Investment Services Limited No http://smithandwilliamson.com/
Sonali Bank (UK) Limited No http://www.sonali-bank.com/
Standard Chartered Bank Yes https://www.sc.com/en/
Starling Bank Limited Yes https://www.starlingbank.com/
State Bank of India Yes https://www.onlinesbi.com/
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited Yes https://www.smbcgroup.com/emea/info/smbce
Tandem Bank Limited Yes https://www.tandem.co.uk/
TD Bank Europe Limited Yes https://www.td.com/about-tdbfg/our-business/index.jsp
Tesco Personal Finance Plc No http://www.tescobank.com/
TSB Bank plc Yes https://www.tsb.co.uk/personal/
Turkish Bank (UK) Ltd Yes https://www.turkishbank.co.uk/
UBS Limited Yes https://www.ubs.com/uk/en.html
Ulster Bank Ltd Fixed http://digital.ulsterbank.co.uk/
Union Bank of India (UK) Limited Yes https://www.unionbankofindiauk.co.uk/
Union Bank UK Plc Yes https://www.unionbankuk.co.uk/netbanking/
United National Bank Limited Yes https://www.ubluk.com/
United Trust Bank Limited Yes https://www.utbank.co.uk/
Unity Trust Bank Plc Yes https://www.unity.co.uk/
Vanquis Bank Limited Yes https://www.vanquis.co.uk/
Virgin Money plc Yes https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/
VTB Capital plc Yes https://www.vtbcapital.com/
Weatherbys Bank Limited Yes https://www.weatherbys.bank/
Wesleyan Bank Limited Yes https://www.wesleyan.co.uk/wesleyan-bank/
Westpac Europe Ltd Yes https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/global-locations/westpac-uk/
Wyelands Bank Plc Yes https://www.wyelandsbank.co.uk/
Zenith Bank (UK) Limited No http://www.zenith-bank.co.uk/

An earlier version of this post also commented on Building Societies. That data has been moved to a separate post to make examining the data easier.

Commentary

From the above, we’re only commenting on the security of the home page. It’s possible that secure pages link to non-secure pages and also possible that non-secure pages link to secure pages. Either is not good. All pages in a bank should be secure. If in doubt, follow the link to the bank yourself and make your own judgement. We list the above for your information, not to endorse a particular bank or to discredit a particular bank. Although that said, you should have a serious chat with your bank if it is listed above and is not secure.

Of the banks above, Airdrie Savings Bank stands out. It is no longer in business and yet it still provides a secure website.

Axis Bank UK Limited had two websites. One had a 2014 copyright date, the other 2017. We tested the 2017 website.

Ulster Bank had multiple websites. One was secure. One was not. The non-secure website was the first listing in a Google search.

Lloyds bank is worrying. The home page was secure, but the private banking page was not secure, but had a link to the standard log in page. Not good.

The Co-operative bank provides both http and https versions of it site. Mobile users only get the http version (tested on Android). On the desktop customers can either http or https. This needs to be fixed. https only should be served to desktop and mobile visitors.

The Bank of England passes this test, but you can’t have an account there, so we haven’t included it in our test results.

If you find any mistakes, or have additional institutions you’d like me to look at, please get in touch. @softwareverify on twitter or email customer support.

Additional Reading

If you want to know more about securing your website with HTTPS and additional measures, read this excellent article on the 6 step happy path to HTTPS by Troy Hunt.

Reference list of banks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banks_in_the_United_Kingdom

Disclaimer

I shouldn’t need to point this out, but i will, all the same, just to be clear.

The data provided on this page should taken at face value. If you’re not sure about something, please verify it yourself. Nothing reported here should be regarded as a criticism or an endorsement or recommendation of an organisations security effectiveness. I am simply passing comment on whether the home page (whatever that may be) is provided as https on not. Other security concerns are a separate matter.

If your organisation is listed here and is not marked as secure, your best course of action is to fix that, not to complain that someone is reporting a fact anyone with a web browser can discover. The security status of your home page is public information, albeit information that many people don’t understand.

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9 Responses to “List of UK banks that are “secure by default””

  1. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  2. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  3. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  4. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  5. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  6. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

  7. […] This is one of several posts of the topic of security of websites. Inspired by my initial post on the security of UK banks. […]

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