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Crooks debut 'plug and play' phishing kit

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Cybercriminals have created a "Plug and Play" phishing kit that dramatically increases the speed with which servers can be attacked. The toolkit - contained in a single file - makes it possible for even technically-illiterate would-be fraudsters to create phishing sites on a compromised server within the the blink of an eye (or two seconds, to be more exact).

The kit was discovered through forensics work on phishing sites by security researchers within RSA (the security division of EMC) Anti Fraud Command Center (AFCC).

Phishing sites traditionally include various files which are installed on the compromised computer that hosts an attack. Typical files are PHP code files, HTML pages, images of the bank logo and cards etc. Generally these files need to be installed, one by one in the appropriate directories, on a server under the control of phishers.

The process is hardly rocket science but it does mean that a would-be fraudster needs to access a compromised server several times to install the files manually, increasing the risk that they might be identified. The new "plug-and-play" phishing kit automates this site installation process. The “kit” consists of a single PHP code file which automatically creates the relevant directories and installs files needed to run a specific phishing site. Seconds after "double clicking" and launching an installation using the kit a complete phishing site is "live". In testing in the RSA phishing lab found that a complete site could be installed in approximately two seconds.

The kit targets a particular financial institution, which RSA declined to name. RSA has been able to shut off attacks based on the kit as well as the email address of the kit's coder, which was discovered within the PHP code. RSA warns that although this particular threat has been contained the automation of phishing site installation is likely to be replicated in further attacks.

It is straightforward for hackers to automate the search for vulnerable servers. Combining the automation of search and compromise of vulnerable systems, helped by the plug-and-play phishing kit approach, makes fraud even easier. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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