Feeds

Phishers rip into two-factor authentication

Man-in-the-middle

The essential guide to IT transformation

Phishers are seeking to circumvent two-factor authentication schemes using man-in-the-middle attacks. Last October, US federal regulators urged banks to adopt two-factor authentication as a means to combat the growing problem of online account fraud.

Two-factor authentication involves the use of a password-generating device along with conventional passwords. That means a thief must know more than just a password to gain access to a user's account. Although the technology helps guard against fraud, a recent attack against Citibank shows the technique is far from foolproof.

A bogus security warning ostensibly from Citibank, and targeting customers of its Citibusiness service, urged prospective marks to visit a website and enter not only their account details and password (as with conventional phishing scams) but also the code generated by the customer's token. These authentication key codes change every minute or so.

The fraudulent site is automated so it uses this information to log onto the real Citibusiness login site, allowing fraudsters access to compromised accounts. The site, based in Russia, operated last week but has since been shut down, the Washington Post reports.

The attack confirms concerns from security expert Bruce Schneier that two-factor authentication schemes have been oversold as a silver-bullet solution to online identity fraud.

Banks in the Netherlands and Scandinavia have used two-factor authentication for years, and the technology is widely credited with helping to make account fraud more difficult. But the Citibank attack shows the growing sophistication of fraudsters, and undermines any notion that this approach delivers complete protection. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?