Definition It is the act of tricking someone into giving confidential information (like passwords and credit card information) on a fake web page or email form pretending to come from a legitimate company (like their bank). For example: Sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
Types of Phishing • Deceptive -Sending adeceptive email, in bulk, with a “call to action” that demands the recipient click on a link.
Types of Phishing • Malware-Based - Running malicious software on the user’s machine. Various forms of malware-based phishing are: • Key Loggers & Screen Loggers • Session Hijackers • Web Trojans • Data Theft
Types of Phishing • DNS-Based - Phishing that interferes with the integrity of the lookup process for a domain name. Forms of DNS-based phishing are: • Hosts file poisoning • Polluting user’s DNS cache • Proxy server compromise
Types of Phishing • Content-Injection – Inserting malicious content into legitimate site. Three primary types of content-injection phishing: • Hackers can compromise a server through a security vulnerability and replace or augment the legitimate content with malicious content. • Malicious content can be inserted into a site through a cross-site scripting vulnerability. • Malicious actions can be performed on a site through a SQL injection vulnerability.
Types of Phishing • Man-in-the-Middle Phishing - Phisher positions himself between the user and the legitimate site.
Types of Phishing • Search Engine Phishing - Create web pages for fake products, get the pages indexed by search engines, and wait for users to enter their confidential information as part of an order, sign-up, or balance transfer.
Causes of Phishing • Misleading e-mails • No check of source address • Vulnerability in browsers • No strong authentication at websites of banks and financial institutions • Limited use of digital signatures • Non-availability of secure desktop tools • Lack of user awareness • Vulnerability in applications • … and more
Effects of Phishing • Internet fraud • Identity theft • Financial loss to the original institutions • Difficulties in Law Enforcement Investigations • Erosion of Public Trust in the Internet.
Industries affected Major industries affected are: • Financial Services • ISPs • Online retailers
How to combat phishing? • Educate application users • Think before you open • Never click on the links in an email , message boards or mailing lists • Never submit credentials on forms embedded in emails • Inspect the address bar and SSL certificate • Never open suspicious emails • Ensure that the web browser has the latest security patch applied • Install latest anti-virus packages • Destroy any hard copy of sensitive information • Verify the accounts and transactions regularly • Report the scam via phone or email.
How to combat phishing? • Formulate and enforce Best practices • Authorization controls and access privileges for systems, databases and applications. • Access to any information should be based on need-to-know principle • Segregation of duties. • Media should be disposed only after erasing sensitive information.
How to combat phishing? Reinforce application development / maintenance processes: 1. Web page personalization • Using two pages to authenticate the users. • Using Client-side persistent cookies.
How to combat phishing? 2. Content Validation • Never inherently trust the submitted data • Never present the submitted data back to an application user without sanitizing the same • Always sanitize data before processing or storing • Check the HTTP referrer header
How to combat phishing? 3. Session Handling • Make session identifiers long, complicated and difficult to guess. • Set expiry time limits for the SessionID’s and should be checked for every client request. • Application should be capable of revoking active SessionID’s and not recycle the same SessionID. • Any attempt the invalid SessionID should be redirected to the login page. • Never accept session information within a URL. • Protect the session via SSL. • Session data should be submitted as a POST. • After authenticating, a new SessionID should be used (HTTP & HTTPS). • Never let the users choose the SessionID.
How to combat phishing? 4. URL Qualification • Do not reference redirection URL in the browser’s URL • Always maintain a valid approved list of redirection url’s • Never allow customers to supply their own URL’s • Never allow IP addresses to be user in URL information
How to combat phishing? 5. Authentication Process • Ensure that a 2-phase login process is in place • Personalize the content • Design a strong token-based authentication
How to combat phishing? 6. Transaction non-repudiation • To ensure authenticity and integrity of the transaction
How to combat phishing? 7. Image Regulation • Image Cycling • Session-bound images
Organizations • Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) The APWG has over 2300+ members from over 1500 companies & agencies worldwide. Member companies include leading security companies such as Symantec, McAfee and VeriSign. Financial Industry members include the ING Group,VISA, Mastercard and the American Bankers Association.
What does all the above imply? It is better to be safer now than feel sorry later.
References • http://www.antiphishing.org/reports/apwg_report_november_2006.pdf • http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:-T6-U5dhgYAJ:www.avira.com/en/threats/what_is_phishing.html+Phishing+consequences&hl=en&gl=in&ct=clnk&cd=7 • Phishing-dhs-report.pdf • Report_on_phishing.pdf • http://www.cert-in.org.in/training/15thjuly05/phishing.pdf • http://www.antiphishing.org/consumer_recs.html