Feeds

Playing the phishing blame game

The buck stops ... somewhere over there

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Who's to blame?

Revisiting the argument of who's to blame for these attacks, the blame can be supported on either side. The fact is that those involved need to think beyond the legal debate and continue to play each of their respective roles to counter this threat. I strongly believe that financial institutions need to "up-the--ante" and go well-beyond introducing those links on their web pages that educate users about keyloggers, viruses, Trojans and phishing attempts.

Some banks now provide RSA tokens that generate one-time passwords to mitigate the risk associated with stolen credentials to their customers - but most still do not. Another example of some forward progress is the Stanford Federal Credit Union who has implemented an authentication solution from Passmark Security that goes beyond conventional passwords.

These approaches are significant initiatives and may not be economically feasible or timely solutions for many financial institutions -- after all, if their own systems are secure, what have they got to lose? Besides their customers and their customer's money, that is.

Even slight changes, such as a conspicuous message on the main page of the bank's website educating users about these threats and the appropriate countermeasures can be very useful. Or, displaying the latest phishing statistics from the Anti-Phishing Working Group would be very easy to do. Or, providing links to websites like Microsoft's Windows Update that checks both the browser and operating system patch levels can have a positive impact. These have virtually no cost to the financial institution, but can be a great value in educating their customers about the risks.

Regulators like the FDIC have already been advising financial institutions against using single-factor authentication and finally upgrading to two-factor authentication - a positive step towards better security. Given the "epidemic nature" (as described by the US-CERT) of the problem, a more firm regulatory stance requiring the deployment of stronger authentication systems may prove to be successful.

In the meantime, let's all take control of our destinies, or at least our bank accounts, and doing the things that most SecurityFocus readers already know: patching our systems (especially those accessed via web browsers); installing personal firewalls; updating anti-virus definitions; browsing the Internet logged in as a non-administrative user on the operating system.; and educating users about the risks that probably still exist on their home machines. Every little bit can help.

© SecurityFocus

Rohyt Belani is the Director of Proactive Security at Red Cliff Consulting. He is a contributing author for Osborne's Hack Notes – Network Security, as well as Addison Wesley's Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions. Rohyt is also a regular speaker at various industry conferences and forums including OWASP, HTCIA, FBI-Cyber Security Summit, ASIS, New York State Cyber Security Conference, HackInTheBox-Malaysia, and CPM.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.