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Accessing a secure web site in an Excel Shell

By somethinggood4 ·
Our company is looking at rolling out an loan application that requires a Credit Bureau report in addition to some other information. What I'd like to do is have an Excel spreadsheet where the interviewer inputs the necessary information, then clicks a macro button that will shell to IE and log on to the secure Equifax site, deliver the company's credentials, input the variables collected in the Excel spreadsheet by the interviewer, and return the web information into the same spreadsheet for later inclusion in the risk calculation. Has anybody done anything like that before? Is it possible to use an Excel shell to successfully manipulate a secure web site, and return useful information?

Any help that anyone can provide would be much appreciated.

Thanks

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Interesting concept, but....

by robo_dev In reply to Accessing a secure web si ...

Not to be a critic but:

-Not everybody has Excel.

- There are about a dozen different versions that exist for those that do.

-Some percentage of those users do not use IE.

-IE has not been supported on the Mac since 2003. My experience has been that on older Macs, this old version of IE is not very stable.

- There are at least a half-dozen versions of IE, user security settings in IE would poassibly block an activeX script, and some PC security applications may not even allow Excel macros to run (since Excel macro viruses are very common).

-By embedding your Equifax credentials in a spreadsheet, you've just given them to the world.

-What would prevent the user from changing their Excel data, changing their credit score, etc??

So, with all due respect, I can see at least a half dozen potentially fatal flaws with such an approach. I didn't even mention the security risks associated with users uploading excel files to you.

On an individual PC, that you had control and posession of, it would be easy to craft a vBscript and/or Excel macro to do such a task. On a unknown client PC, on an untrusted network (the Internet), I think this would work for about 30-40% of all users while generating an enormous number of support calls from those other 60-70%.

My recommendation is that this should all be done in a web application. Any simple forms-based web app could do the backend Equifax query, yet not compromise your company credentials.

There are tons of canned web-based loan origination packages out there.
http://www.ezloansoftware.com/

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This app would be strictly in-house...

by somethinggood4 In reply to Interesting concept, but. ...

I agree, a web app would be much more appropriate if I were launching this to the general public, but this is strictly for our staff to use. My original post wasn't clear on who the 'users' of this macro would be.

So, since you say that "On an individual PC, that you had control and possession of, it would be easy to craft a vBscript and/or Excel macro to do such a task.", how does one go about it? So far, I've used Shell and SendKeys to get as far as logging in to the secure Equifax site. That still causes a problem, because the main page after login changes so frequently, depending on whether my password needs changing, or my personal security certificate needs upgrading, or what-have-you. Additionally, in an ideal world the credit bureau task would run in the background so our staff could proceed with the interview while the score was being fetched.

I think if I poured about 40 hours of trial-and-error into it I could get something that works MOST of the time, but I don't have that kind of spare time at work. I thought I'd ask someone like you, who knows a helluva lot more than I do how it can be done. :)

Thanks!
sg4

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Automating access to a web page may not be the best approach

by robo_dev In reply to This app would be strictl ...

Here's a service that would allow programmatic access to credit data.

http://www.creditake.com/services.html

Now this is only part of the solution...you would need to create some simple ASP .net app to meet your needs.

With any program development, as you have seen, you cannot write code to hang off of someone else's interface...it's just too messy.

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This might be of interest to you,,

http://www.sharewareconnection.com/titles/secure-shell.htm

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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