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TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!

Users report creaky systems, load balancer errors

Embattled bank TSB has claimed its IT systems are now "up and running" – despite many users still reporting they can’t get into their accounts.

The bank’s online services have been down for almost a week, after TSB's planned migration off former parent Lloyds’ tech infrastructure – some five years after its split from the group – was a resounding failure.

The tech swap saw users unable to access their accounts either online or on mobile apps, with some even telling El Reg that branch services had failed them. The knock-on effect was back-logged call centres, which TSB has yet to sort out - thus taking down all four arms of its banking services.

Following the outage that started as planned downtime on Friday afternoon, CEO Paul Pester this morning triumphantly told disgruntled folk on Twitter that services were "up and running" again.

However, the reality is somewhat different, as users are being told that the bank is "limiting access" to the app and online banking, with only a few allowed to log in at once.

Those who do get past the holding pages are reporting password failures and crashes when trying to perform basic banking functions, while other users are jumping onto social media sites to share the many and various error messages.

TSB's social media ninjas are trying to issue personal apologies to all the disappointed customers out there – which mostly consists of directing them to the already clogged phone lines – but users have yet to receive an apology by other means, such as text or email.

Meanwhile, the bank is remaining tight-lipped about what has caused the problems, although its Spanish owner Sabadell yesterday issued – and then quickly pulled – a post bragging about its IT integration successes. It's not clear where the root of the problem lies.

Pester said in September last year that "over 2,500 man years of effort by TSB, Sabadell and our technology partners" had gone into TSB's "new banking platform for the digital age".

However, users questioned the platform's testing processes and pointed out that the bank should have had regression plans in place.

Shujun Li, professor of cybersecurity research at the University of Kent, said the main issue was not the initial failure – modern IT systems are too complicated and dynamic to be totally bug-free, he said – but because of the bank’s poor risk management.

"What surprised me is the fact that TSB allowed the buggy system to run through their 1.9 million customers [without what appears to be] proper testing of the new system," he said.

"From what has happened, it is clear to me that something seriously went wrong with TSB's procedures" on internal system testing, customer communications, information security management and data protection.

The Reg has asked TSB for an update and will update this article if we get it. ®

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