Feeds

Webmail buggers attack Yahoo!, Hotmail users

Gmail phishing assaults spread to MS and Yahoo! users

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The high-profile phishing campaign targeting the private Gmail accounts of government officials and political activists is part of a wider pattern of attacks also targeting Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, according to net security firm Trend Micro.

Trend said that whether or not the attacks were related, they were all aimed towards bugging webmail accounts. Some of the current wave of assaults against webmail accounts also use techniques designed to find out what sort of security software victims are running as a prelude to deeper running assaults.

The initial phase of many of these attacks (include the Gmail assault) is a targeted email redirecting users to a fake site designed to con users into handing over their login credentials. Once accounts have been compromised, the attacker surreptitiously changes webmail settings in order to send emails to a drop account under their control.

In addition to monitoring compromised email accounts, the crackers behind the wheeze also use a script that exploits the res:// protocol to discover the type of anti-virus software a victim is using. This data is used to mount further attacks designed to obtain complete control over a victim's PC and not just their webmail account.

Trend Micro recently discovered a strain of malware that uses the res:// protocol to find out what security software a victim is running. The information is used to craft product specific attacks that "have a high probability of success", Trend warns.

Google previously warned that that attackers are exploiting a vulnerability in the MHTML protocol, specifically in attacks targeting political activists. Independent security researcher Greg Walton reports that a MHTML exploit directed against Gmail users initially spread, at least partly, via a phishing message passing through Facebook. Like the recent Gmail phishing attacks, the fraudsters modified account settings to monitor compromised Gmail accounts.

Google is far from alone in all this. Trend Micro researchers in Taiwan have discovered a phishing attack that "exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft's Hotmail service". The malicious email, which posed as a message from the Facebook security team, was capable of compromising a user's account simply by previewing the malicious message.

Yahoo! Mail users have also been targeted, via an attack designed to steal users' authentication cookies. "While this attempt appeared to fail, it does signify that attackers are attempting to attack Yahoo! Mail users as well," Trend Micro reports.

Email addresses associated with the Yahoo! Mail attack were also used to run a different attack, featuring malicious Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, back in March.

A full write-up of recent trends in webmail account hacking can be found in a blog post by Trend Micro here. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.