Feeds

Governments' systems used to power phishing push

As US training firm aids penis pill purveyors

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.