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Topic # 191644 11-Feb-2016 14:06
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I wanted to check our online bill today, and used the URL that came in the email from Spark notifying us that our bill was ready (which takes the form of https://www.spark.co.nz/viewer/GetBillImage?url=<GUID>).

 

Because I was curious, I decided to see if this URL required you to be logged in or not. I was shocked to find that it didn't!

 

Thinking this must be a browser session or cookie issue, I tried in another browser (where I'd never logged into MySpark from). Statement still visible. Cleared all history. Yep, still visible.

 

As a final litmus test, I asked my mate in the US if he could access it.

 

 

This is a pretty serious security flaw. Loads of personal information available here.

 

This is also the second time I've encountered it this week, with JB HiFi using a similar "security by URL" scheme for their online orders. I kinda expected it from them, as their website is all kinds of antiquated. But I'm a little shocked seeing it from Spark.


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  Reply # 1490395 11-Feb-2016 14:09
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Covered last year. It's not ideal, but it's not so bad. Security by obscurity.





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  Reply # 1490399 11-Feb-2016 14:12
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And we're all OK with this?

Seems like a pretty serious breach of personal data. Email is far from a secure medium. At the very least, it should require an authenticated session before allowing it to be viewed.

Follow up: Is there a way to opt out of these electronic bills? I can't seem to find any option to do so via MySpark.


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  Reply # 1490404 11-Feb-2016 14:17
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It would be difficult to guess the URL. However it seems like it making people sign in to view their bill would be a pretty reasonable precaution, and not too difficult for most people. They probably want to make life easier for the less technically adept.

 

Email isn't secure, as such, but intercepting or viewing any particular email would be fairly difficult.

 

If you did get that information I guess you could take over someones account.





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  Reply # 1490406 11-Feb-2016 14:21
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TrustPower used to do this, but a year or so ago switched to attaching the PDF to the email. Of course, that results in potential "bounces" due to mailbox quotas.


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  Reply # 1490409 11-Feb-2016 14:26
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IMO no worse than attaching a file to an email, which is how I like to recieve things.





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  Reply # 1490410 11-Feb-2016 14:28
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Spark have informed me that these URLs expire. They are also escalating my concerns to the MySpark team. 

That's probably the best outcome I can ask for right now. Here's hoping it's feasible for them to incorporate authentication into the process.


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  Reply # 1490418 11-Feb-2016 14:32
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If the GUID is sufficiently long and has enough entropy, this is about as secure as your mailbox.  Which is as secure as any email-resettable password is anyway.




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  Reply # 1490440 11-Feb-2016 14:42
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ubergeeknz:

 

If the GUID is sufficiently long and has enough entropy, this is about as secure as your mailbox.  Which is as secure as any email-resettable password is anyway.

 



Physical proximity is a huge barrier to ID theft. Takes infinitely more effort than typing on your keyboard.

And any halfway decent password resetting mechanism will mitigate risk by having a very short window that a reset URL is usable. 


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  Reply # 1490442 11-Feb-2016 14:44
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dclegg:

 

ubergeeknz:

 

If the GUID is sufficiently long and has enough entropy, this is about as secure as your mailbox.  Which is as secure as any email-resettable password is anyway.

 



Physical proximity is a huge barrier to ID theft. Takes infinitely more effort than typing on your keyboard.

And any halfway decent password resetting mechanism will mitigate risk by having a very short window that a reset URL is usable. 

 

 

Sorry, when referring to mailbox I meant to say "email inbox".


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  Reply # 1490471 11-Feb-2016 14:59
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richms:

 

IMO no worse than attaching a file to an email, which is how I like to recieve things.

 

 

Probably more secure - given how that pdf sent via email is open and readable to every server and network handling it from sender to you.


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  Reply # 1490477 11-Feb-2016 15:05
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wasabi2k:

 

richms:

 

IMO no worse than attaching a file to an email, which is how I like to recieve things.

 

 

Probably more secure - given how that pdf sent via email is open and readable to every server and network handling it from sender to you.

 

 

But so's the link to the pdf ;)




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  Reply # 1490480 11-Feb-2016 15:07
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wasabi2k:

 

richms:

 

IMO no worse than attaching a file to an email, which is how I like to recieve things.

 

 

Probably more secure - given how that pdf sent via email is open and readable to every server and network handling it from sender to you.

 

 

That doesn't make it more secure, but just as insecure. The URL is also actionable by every server and network handling it from sender to you.

I guess I'm a little surprised that in this age of increased cybercrime and identity theft, my fellow Geekzoners would be so apathetic to what is a pretty big security no no.

To Spark's credit, they have heard my concerns and are escalating them. 


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  Reply # 1490481 11-Feb-2016 15:07
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wasabi2k:

 

richms:

 

IMO no worse than attaching a file to an email, which is how I like to recieve things.

 

 

Probably more secure - given how that pdf sent via email is open and readable to every server and network handling it from sender to you.

 

 

Email goes pretty much directly these days - sending network to receiving network, unless something is messed up or someone sets up weird routing. Of course email is commonly outsourced, so you may never know who actually hosts the email unless you look at the headers.





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  Reply # 1490483 11-Feb-2016 15:11
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The problem I have with anything that is not a directly emailed pdf, is that there is no guarantee that the bill remains accessible and is not altered from when it is sent.

 

Emailed PDFs mean that it can go to my gmail, go into the right folder and I can review it any time without having to arse about with a website and logging in and hoping I still have access to it etc.

 

They are quite happy to put the same content into a paper envelope that gets left in a tin box at the side of the road so its hardly top secret information.





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  Reply # 1490489 11-Feb-2016 15:18
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@dclegg: Is there a way to opt out of these electronic bills? I can't seem to find any option to do so via MySpark. 

 

You can sign up for online bills on the Spark website but I don't think there's an option to go back - try the online chat?

 

@dclegg: Spark have informed me that these URLs expire. 

 

Yes, they expire after 18 months. 


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