Feeds

Bank scammers scammed, says security researcher

Hacking tools nick nicked data

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Many of the people behind identity theft scams are themselves having data stolen from them in the process, a security researcher has revealed.

Phishers, who trick online banking users into typing in their details to fake sites, use tools in the process which have built-in security holes for others to access the data that many do not have the technical skills to spot, according to a security researcher.

Nitesh Dhanjan will next week tell the Black Hat security conference in Washington of the results of his and his colleague Billy Rios's immersion in the world of phishers. He told OUT-LAW Radio of his findings this week.

Dhanjani claims that most phishers are far from the technical sophisticates of the popular imagination. Most, he said, use pre-written phishing kits that take little skill to operate.

"What you see in [the kits] is ready made phishing sites," he said. "All the research we've done is just basically what you can do from a web browser without even crossing the line where it's called hacking."

Dhanjani said it was extremely easy to come across details that had been stolen just hours previously. "Within 15 minutes of starting this research we were staring at people's bank accounts and credit card numbers and ATM PIN numbers posted on international message boards," he said.

But the authors of the phishing kits are using more junior phishers to do the work for them. Dhanjani said when he and Rios, who both work for un-named major corporations, looked at the computer code in the kits, they found that it had two different instructions commanding the system to email a victim's details.

"We realised that in the second mail command there was a hard coded email address that the victim's information was also going to," said Dhanjani. "So unbeknown to the phisher deploying this kit, his information from the victim is going to him in addition to the author who wrote this kit, so there you have a phisher phishing a phisher."

Gartner estimated that phishing scams cost $3.2bn in 2007, and there are significant costs over and above the money lost because it is often very difficult and time consuming for people to prove that they were not responsible for spending in their name.

Dhanjani said that there is no easy fix to the problem. He said that until banks and governments have more sophisticated systems than just simple credit card or government identity numbers the problem will continue.

He said, though, that the cost of changing those systems was greater than the sums currently being lost, meaning the systems are unlikely to change soon.

Copyright © 2008, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.