TSB customers report online problems and potential data breach

Cyber Security Threat

What was supposed to be a routine upgrade turned into something of a PR nightmare for high street bank TSB this weekend.

Scheduled upgrades to the company’s systems which were supposed to be completed within 2 hours, resulted in long periods of system downtime and frustrated customers.

To make matters worse, there were multiple reports of customers being able to access the online bank accounts and balances of other customers, and it didn’t take long before Twitter and Facebook were alight with complaints and rants.

If this is true it could represent a significant security and data breach and no doubt the regulators will be keen to establish the facts.

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time working in a busy IT department will undoubtedly be able to regale with stories of the ‘upgrade from hell’ where seemingly everything that could go wrong, did go wrong (I’ve got one or two of those stories myself). However, in most cases this results in working a little later and maybe having to do an extra pizza order!

Inadvertently allowing access to someone else’s bank account however is not something to be easily brushed away, if indeed this is the case.

No doubt TSB will be reviewing what happened and what could have been done to prevent it but, in most cases, situations like this are the result of a series of small failings that come together to create the perfect storm. It underlines the importance of going into every project with eyes open to the potential risks and having properly planned out your processes and your roll back plan.

Whatever the cause, given that TSB likely have sufficient resources to manage such a process, it shows that it can happen to anyone and we must never get complacent.

If there was a serious data breach, TSB could end up in front of the regulators and maybe even face a fine. Regardless of that, in these days of instant ‘trial by social media’, the reputational damage has already started.