August 20, 2005

Notes on today's market for threats

A good article on Malware for security people to brush up their understanding. On honey clients Balrog writes (copied verbatim):

In my earlier post about Microsoft’s HoneyMonkey project I mentioned that the HoneyNet Project will probably latch on and develop something along the same lines.

In the meantime, I was notified of Kathy Wang's Honeyclient project and the client-side honeypots diploma project at the Laboratory for Dependable Distributed Systems at Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen.

From PaymentNews:

TowerGroup has announced new research examining the impact that phishing attacks may be having on fraud perpetrated at ATMs and debit POS locations that concludes that losses from fraud due to phishing runs about $81 million annually in the US.

That report is confused, it is looking at card skimming and seems to be conflating that with phishing. This may explain the lower-than-others estimate of $81m, or it may be explained by the fact that they only looked at identifiable banks' losses, not consumer losses and other costs. So I feel this number is a low outlyer, rather that really representative of phishing.

(Addendum: Having read the Tower link, I can now see that they are more just looking at the crossover from phishing to ATM Fraud,)

There is a lot of buzz on how wireless networks are being used "routinely" to attack people. So far it's all the same: the attacks are generally of access, rarely listening and no known cases of MITMs _even though they are trivial_! Here's a typical case pointed out by Jeroen from El Reg where the attack is misrepresented as a bank hack over wireless:

The data security chief at the Helsinki branch of financial services firm GE Money has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal 20,000 from the firm's online bank account. The 26 year-old allegedly copied passwords and e- banking software onto a laptop used by accomplices to siphon off money from an unnamed bank.

"Investigators told local paper Helsingin Sanomat that the suspects wrongly believed that the use of an insecure wireless network in commission of the crime would mask their tracks. This failed when police identified the MAC address of the machine used to pull off the theft from a router and linked it to a GE Money laptop. Police say that stolen funds have been recovered. Four men have been arrested over the alleged theft with charges expected to follow within the next two months.

Now, we have to read that fairly carefully to figure out what happened, and the information is potentially unreliable, but here goes. To me, it looks like the perpetrator stole the passwords from the inside and then used a wireless connected laptop (in a cafe?) to empty the account. So this is an inside job! The use of the wireless was nothing more than a forlorn hope to cover tracks and is totally incidental to the nature of the crime.

(Also, it doesn't say much for the security at GE Money ... "Maybe they should have employed a CISP" ... or whatever those flyswatter certifications are called.)

Addendum See here for some new wireless threats.

Posted by iang at August 20, 2005 07:54 AM | TrackBack
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