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Posts tagged: pension

List of UK pension funds that are not secure by default

By , December 18, 2017 4:01 pm

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

The reason for splitting this data into multiple posts is to make it more manageable. So that data on one institution is not mixed with data on another type of institution.

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 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.

We tested 28 pension funds. We found 8 pension funds that did not have a secure home page (not https or did have https with an invalid security certificate). That is 29% of UK pension funds have security vulnerabilities.

Pension Fund Secure Home Page
Aviva Staff Pension Scheme No
BAE Systems Pension Scheme Yes
Barclays Bank UK Retirement Fund Yes
BBC Pension Trust Ltd No
BP Pension Fund Yes
British Airways Pension Scheme Yes
British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme Yes
British Steel Pension Scheme Yes
BT Pension Scheme Yes
Co-operative Group Pension Scheme (Pace) Yes
Electricity Supply Pension Scheme Yes
Greater Manchester Pension Fund Yes
HBOS Final Salary Pension Scheme Yes
HSBC Bank UK Pension Scheme No
ICI Pension Fund No
Lloyds TSB Group Pension Scheme Yes
Mineworkers Pension Scheme Yes
National Grid UK Pension Scheme Yes
Railways Pension Scheme Yes
RBS Group Pension Fund Yes
RBS Group Pensioner’s Association No
Rolls-Royce Pension Fund Yes
Royal Mail Pension Plan Yes
Shell Contributory Pension Fund No
Strathclyde Pension Fund Yes
Universities Superannuation Scheme Yes
West Midlands Pension Fund No
West Yorkshire Pension Scheme No


It is surprising to see the pension funds of some banks are insecure, even though the banking website for it’s customers are secure.

While I find it very worrying that some banks and wealth managers etc are not secure, people whose funds are in a pension, that is often their only form of income, thus if access to the pension fund become compromised for a particular person, that could be all their future income being erased. This is not a pleasing prospect. As with banks, wealth managers, etc, these pension funds should manage their security with greater care and diligence.


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