"You'd think electronic financial trading would be extra secure, but not so much: One of the most popular application-layer protocols in the financial industry leaves these money applications wide open to attack, according to researchers.
The application-layer FIX (financial information exchange) protocol is used by financial services firms, stock exchanges, and investment banks for automated financial trading. But apps written to the protocol can be vulnerable to denial-of-service, session hijacking, and man-in-the middle attacks over the Internet, as well as an attacker actually able to "watch" the transactions, says David Goldsmith, CEO of Matasano Security, who will present the firm's new research on FIX at the upcoming Black Hat USA briefings later this month.
Goldsmith says he can't divulge details on the specific vulnerabilities Matasano found in applications deploying FIX, as well as other financial industry-specific protocols, but the bottom line is that these protocols weren't built with security in mind. "For the most part, when you look under the hood of these protocols, we find almost no means of security," he says. The FIX spec, for instance, barely touches on how to secure data as it travels over the Internet. "
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