Feeds

Governments' systems used to power phishing push

As US training firm aids penis pill purveyors

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Lax security controls are allowing conmen to host fraudulent websites on servers run by government organisations and private sector firms.

For example, Symantec has detected a number of phishing sites that have been hosted on government URLs over recent months. In June alone, fraudulent sites were identified on sites run by the governments of Thailand, Indonesia, Hungary, Bangladesh, Argentina, Sri Lanka, the Ukraine, China, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and Malaysia.

The quantity of phishing sites hosted on government systems flies in the face of the perceived wisdom that government systems are more secure. Systems are often compromised by hackers who gain access via a backdoor, a vulnerable Web interface, or some other means. Hosting bogus sites on government systems can have a number of benefits for phishers, Symantec notes.

"Hosting a phishing Web page on a government site has a number of advantages for a phisher. Government Web sites often receive a high volume of traffic, so their servers can handle the extra traffic generated by a phishing site," writes Symantec researcher Nick Sullivan. "This extra traffic might not be noticed immediately, giving the phishing site a longer lifespan before it is detected and shut down. Perhaps most importantly, hosting a phishing site on an actual government URL gives the phishing site a sense of authenticity that’s hard to beat."

Private sector firms are also contributing to the problem. US distance learning firm New Horizon, which really ought to know better since it provides security training, left spamvertised pharmacy sites running on its systems for over a week even after we first notified it of problems. The issue was brought to our attention by anti-spam activist Roman Hnatiw who says that such problems are commonplace. A screenshot of the offending website captured by El Reg before the problem was put right can be found here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.