The Swedish BankID curse and Debian

Lots of bank, tax and insurance related stuff in Sweden these days switch to using BankID for secure logins on web sites.

That system used to be a java-thing so as long as your browser supported running java applets, you’d be fine. Even us strange guys who prefer Linux. While I’m not a huge fan of java, this seemed to be a rather fine example of where using a java-applet was actually a pretty good idea to achieve functionality on a wide variety of platforms without too much work.

They ditched the java applet a while ago and switched to a browser plugin and native application instead, which then suddenly made them forced to write platform-specific code to achieve the same magic. And not too surprisingly, the Linux version was poorly made and is not supported and is left with a really complicated way to install it which no doubt will prevent every Linux-newbie out there from using BankID on Linux. Annoying and rude if you ask me.

Now, my bank (Skandiabanken) is about to switch to use BankID completely for their regular logins and I thought it was about time for me to start the fight with this under Linux and see what I will learn.

The install.sh script is written for Ubuntu (very poorly) and doesn’t work. Shame on you Nexus for that crap.  I poked it and with some manual hands-on I could install the stuff properly. I can now head over to the official BankID site and it verifies that my installation works fine. Somehow it does however not allow me to “sign” anything because of some failure and here’s the “fun” part:

The only help and contact there is about BankID says “contact your bank” for support. My bank says they have no support and just drops the ball there.

I’m willing to offer my fixed version of the install script that will work better on more distros. I’m willing to work a bit on my own to fix this for Linux uses such as myself. But how the hack can I even fix the problems when nobody can answer any questions or provide any details on this system?

5 Responses to “The Swedish BankID curse and Debian”

  1. Lars Says:

    Another problem is that there is no 64-bit version. And it leaves behind some files in /dev/shm. The e-mail address to the “teknisk chef” is available on bankid.com if you want to get in touch with them. I recently asked them to provide a deb package but they said they don’t want to target a specific distro.

    I been playing with the idea of building a nexus-personal-installer deb package that would download and install the software for you. But I don’t really feel that it would be a good solution to the problem.

  2. daniel Says:

    I’ve tried to contact Nexus now about this problem (using a contact form on their web site) since they boast as the makers of ‘Personal’ and I responded to my bank’s support and insisted that I want more info.

    I don’t expect a lot to happen, but at least I can try.

  3. The Swedish BankID curse and Debian | Debian-News.net - Your one stop for news about Debian Says:

    [...] then suddenly made them forced to write platform-specific code to achieve the same magic. More here And not too surprisingly, the Linux version was poorly made and is not supported and is left with a [...]

  4. daniel Says:

    Nexus replied to me and they said (Swedish quote):

    BankID säkerhetsprogram för Linux har utvecklats i första hand för installation på Ubuntu 8.0.4, även om andra dialekter kan gå går bra att köra klienten på. Alla banker som använder BankID säkerhetsprogram ska ha en fungerande tjänst oavsett vilken plattform klienten körs på: Windows, Mac OSX eller Linux (Ubuntu).

    Om Skandiabankens sida inte fungerar med Linux-klienten måste det tas upp med dem eller med BankID som hjälper de BankID-anslutna bankerna med införandet. Felsökning ska i första hand gå den vägen för att de som ansvariga för tjänsten bäst kan svara för sin egen miljö och få chansen att rätta eventuella problem.

    Catch 22 basically.

  5. irek Says:

    FYI. I’ve got an account with http://www.sparbankenfinn.se/. They “support”
    Linux (http://www.sparbankenfinn.se/om_internetbanken/systemkrav/index.htx).
    I use Slackware 13.0 (but started using Nexus Personal with S 12.0).
    The latest version I have (4.10.2.16) seems much easier to run than
    previous ones, as it has most libraries linked statically nowadays (run
    personal.bin and see if a window shows up). I use it with Firefox 3.
    The only thing I do with it is I enter my password (ie. no plugins,
    tokens, cards, vodka, Coke etc.).

    In the past, I tried to use Personal with Seamonkey and Firefox 2.
    The confusing part was that it was OK’ed both by Nexus installation
    verification test page and Sparbanken Finn test authentication, but
    my real account authentication failed without giving any reason why.
    It was only after I had installed Firefox 3 that things started to work.

    The moral is that it might be the bank’s fault why your BankID won’t work.
    My bank requires FF3, yours might refuse to work with anything other
    than IE, for instance.

    IMO, it’s not Nexus you should complain to, but your bank, whose client
    you are. They require you to use this s#!t to do business with them,
    they should help you. If they won’t… well, do business with someone
    else.

    Personally, the most frustrating is that *not* having BankID (or even not
    having a computer!) is practically not an option (at least with my bank,
    but I guess it will be the same with other banks, too). Every smallest
    payment would cost me 100sek if I payed at the counter, and most often
    there is no other way to pay than through a bank.