Author Topic: web phishing  (Read 1122 times)


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web phishing
« on: January 24, 2007, 09:10:41 AM »
I'm not sure  how much of a discussion topic this can be by it's own nature! but having read the news articles about putting personal info on the net and the abuse of it makes it a challenge to enjoy   the fabulous array of websites like this one that provide such positive social forces.
So identity theft abounds it would appear. I doubt if that is what the musical lyrics of "steal the face  right off your head "actually mean  indentity theft but it got me thinking about it. ( no disrespect to the  helpful/friendly conversation that follow up on my l questions about the phrase!)
Maybe everyone is more up to date on this stuff than I am,  but maybe  there are others like me who are not so up to date.  For them and anyone  with   some help  or particular experiences  that would help others not become victims of  webphishing, I 'd like to share  the segments below that I  qujote from the Wikipedia--where there are at least  13 pages  on the subject!
Happy climbing!

"Early phishing on AOL
Those who would later phish on AOL during the 1990s originally used fake, algorithmically generated credit card numbers to create accounts on AOL, which could last weeks or even months. After AOL brought in measures in late 1995 to prevent this, early AOL crackers resorted to phishing for legitimate accounts.[10]

Phishing on AOL was closely associated with the warez community that exchanged pirated software. A phisher might pose as an AOL staff member and send an instant message to a potential victim, asking him to reveal his password.[11] In order to lure the victim into giving up sensitive information the message might include text such as "verify your account" or "confirm billing information". Once the victim had submitted his password, the attacker could access and use the victim's account for criminal purposes, such as spamming. Both phishing and warezing on AOL generally required custom-written programs, such as AOHell. Phishing became so prevalent on AOL that they added a line on all instant messages stating: "no one working at AOL will ask for your password or billing information".

After 1997, AOL's policy enforcement with respect to phishing and warez became stricter and forced pirated software off AOL servers. AOL simultaneously developed a system to promptly deactivate accounts involved in phishing, often before the victims could respond. The shutting down of the warez scene on AOL caused most phishers to leave the service, and many phishers — often young teens — grew out of the habit.[12]

[edit] Recent phishing attempts
A chart showing the increase in phishing reports from October 2004 to June 2005.
Phishing is an international problem. This is a example of a page requesting the login data for the venezuelan bank Banesco.More recent phishing attempts have targeted the customers of banks and online payment services. E-mails supposedly from the Internal Revenue Service have also been used to glean sensitive data from U.S. taxpayers.[13] While the first such examples were sent indiscriminately in the hope of finding a customer of a given bank or service, recent research has shown that phishers may in principle be able to establish what bank a potential victim has a relationship with, and then send an appropriate spoofed email to this victim.[14]. Targeted versions of phishing have been termed spear phishing.[15] Social networking sites are also a target of phishing, since the personal details in such sites can be used in identity theft.[16] Experiments show a success rate of over 70% for phishing attacks on social networks.[17] In late 2006 a computer worm took over pages on MySpace and altered links to direct surfers to websites designed to steal login details.[18]

[edit] Phishing techniques

[edit] Link manipulation
Most methods of phishing use some form of technical deception designed to make a link in an email (and the spoofed website it leads to) appear to belong to the spoofed organization. Misspelled URLs or the use of subdomains are common tricks used by phishers, such as this example URL, Another common trick is to make the anchor text for a link appear to be a valid URL when the link actually goes to the phishers' site.

An old method of spoofing links used links containing the @ symbol, originally intended as a way to include a username and password in a web link (contrary to the standard).[19] For example, the link might deceive a casual observer into believing that the link will open a page on, whereas the link actually directs the browser to a page on, using a username of the page opens normally, regardless of the username supplied. Such URLs were disabled in Internet Explorer[20], while the Mozilla[21] and Opera web browsers opted to present a warning message and give users the option of continuing to the site or cancelling.

A further problem with URLs has been found in the handling of Internationalized domain names (IDN) in web browsers, that might allow visually identical web addresses to lead to different, possibly malicious, websites. Despite the publicity surrounding the flaw, known as IDN spoofing[22] or a homograph attack,[23] no known phishing attacks have yet taken advantage of it. Phishers have taken advantage of a similar risk, using open URL redirectors on the websites of trusted organizations to disguise malicious URLs with a trusted domain.[24] [25]

[edit] Website forgery
Once the victim visits the website the deception is not over.[26] Some phishing scams use JavaScript commands in order to alter the address bar. This is done either by placing a picture of the legitimate entity's URL over the address bar, or by closing the original address bar and opening a new one containing the legitimate URL.[27]

In another popular method of phishing, an attacker uses a trusted website's own scripts against the victim.[28] These types of attacks (known as cross-site scripting) are particularly problematic, because they direct the user to sign in at their bank or service's own web page, where everything from the web address to the security certificates appears correct. In reality, the link to the website is crafted to carry out the attack, although it is very difficult to spot without specialist knowledge. Just such a flaw was used in 2006 against PayPal.[29]

A Universal Man-in-the-Middle Phishing Kit, discovered by RSA Security, provides a simple to use interface that allows a phisher to convincingly reproduce any website and capture any log in details entered at the fake site.[30]....

[edit] Phishing examples
PayPal phishing example

An example of a phishing email targeted at PayPal users.In an example PayPal phish (right), spelling mistakes in the email and the presence of an IP address in the link (visible in the tooltip under the yellow box) are both clues that this is a phishing attempt. Another giveaway is the lack of a personal greeting, although the presence of personal details is not a guarantee of legitimacy.

SouthTrust Bank example

In this second example, targeted at SouthTrust Bank users, the phisher has used an image to make it harder for anti-phishing filters to detect by scanning for text commonly used in phishing emails.[32]

From: SouthTrust <>
Subject: SouthTrust Bank: Important Notification
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 23:56:30 -0200 (22:56 BRT)
An image from a phish targeted at SouthTrust bank customers.

[edit] Damage caused by phishing
The damage caused by phishing ranges from loss of access to email to substantial financial loss. This style of identity theft is becoming more popular, because of the ease with which unsuspecting people often divulge personal information to phishers, including credit card numbers, social security numbers, and mothers' maiden names. There are also fears that identity thieves can add such information to that they have gained through phishing simply by accessing public records.[33] Once this information is acquired, the phishers may use a person's details to create fake accounts in a victim's name, ruin a victim's credit, or even prevent victims from accessing their own accounts[citation needed].
It is estimated that between May 2004 and May 2005, approximately 1.2 million computer users in the United States suffered losses caused by phishing, totaling approximately $929 million USD. U.S. businesses lose an estimated $2 billion USD a year as their clients become victims.[34] In the United Kingdom losses from web banking fraud — mostly from phishing — almost doubled to £23.2m in 2005, from £12.2m in 2004,[35] while 1 in 20 users claimed to have lost out to phishing in 2005.[36]

A bank in Europe has initially refused to cover losses suffered by its customers, in a move that is backed by the UK banking body APACS' stance that "customers must also take sensible that they are not vulnerable to the criminal."[37]

[edit] Anti-phishing
There are several different techniques to combat phishing, including legislation and technology created specifically to protect against phishing.

[edit] Social responses
One strategy for combating phishing is to train users to deal with phishing attempts. User education can be promising, especially where training provides direct feedback to the user on his success (or otherwise). [38] One newer phishing tactic, which uses phishing emails targeted at a specific company, known as spear phishing, has been harnessed to train users at various locations, including West Point Military Academy. In a June 2004 experiment with spear phishing, 80% of 500 West Point cadets who were sent a fake email were tricked into revealing personal information.[39]

Users can take steps to avoid phishing attempts by slightly modifying their browsing habits. Users who are contacted about an account needing to be "verified" (or any other topic used by phishers) can contact the company that is the subject of the email to check that the email is legitimate, or can type in a trusted web address for the company's website into the address bar of their browser to bypass the link in the suspected phishing message.[40]

Nearly all legitimate email messages from companies to their customers will contain an item of information that is not readily available to phishers. Some companies, like PayPal, always address their customers by their username in emails, so if an email addresses a user in a generic fashion ("Dear PayPal customer") it is likely to be an attempt at phishing.[41] Emails from banks and credit card companies will often include partial account numbers. Therefore, one should always be suspicious if the message does not contain specific personal information. Phishing attempts in early 2006, however, used such highly personalized information, making it unsafe to rely on personal information alone as a sign that a message is legitimate.[42] Further, another recent study concluded in part that the presence of this information does not significantly affect the success rate of phishing attacks,[43] suggesting that most users do not pay attention to such details anyway.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry and law enforcement association, has suggested that conventional phishing techniques could become obsolete in the future as people are increasingly aware of the social engineering techniques used by phishers.[44] They propose that pharming and other uses of malware will become more common tools for stealing information."