06:58 PM
Connect Directly

Phishing Kits Widely Compromised To Steal From Phishers

From 21 different distribution sites, the authors of the Usenix Conference paper identified 379 distinct phishing kits, 129 of which contained back doors.

Would-be phishers can buy, or obtain for free, phishing kits, which include the files necessary to duplicate a targeted Web site and scripts to steal information submitted by phishing victims. They're widely available online, but they're also untrustworthy.

In January, Netcraft security researcher Paul Mutton identified a phishing tool kit distributed by a group of Moroccan cybercriminals that had been compromised with a back door. Unbeknownst to its users, the phishing kit sent copies of stolen information to its creators.

Now it turns out that more than 40% of the live phishing kits found online (61 out of 150) have back doors designed to steal from the information thieves using them.

In a paper presented on Monday at the Usenix Conference in San Jose, Calif. -- "There Is No Free Phish: An Analysis Of 'Free' And Live Phishing Kits" -- security researchers Marco Cova, Christopher Kruegel, and Giovanni Vigna from the University of California, Santa Barbara, have found that the big phishers -- the authors of phishing kits -- feed on the little phishers who deploy phishing kits.

And there are a surprising number of phishing tool kits. From 21 different distribution sites, the authors of the paper identified 379 distinct phishing kits, 129 of which contained back doors.

The phishing kits targeted 49 different organizations, mainly banks and auction sites, but also e-mail providers and gaming portals. Among the kits downloaded from distribution sites, the five most common targets were Bank of America (21 kits), eBay (19), Wachovia (18), HSBC (18), and PayPal (15).

Most of the live backdoor phishing kits send hijacked information to e-mail drop accounts. Two of the kits stored hijacked information in a file on the phishing site server, and one sent the information to an outside server using a POST request.

And in an attempt to conceal the true nature of their software, phishing kit authors frequently obfuscate their code and include comments in their code designed to discourage modifications that might close their secret back door.

However, comments like "Don't need to change anything here" do more to invite suspicion than to allay it.

"In other cases, comments sound outright sarcastic," the paper said. "In one instance, the indexes of the array used in a permutation-based obfuscation read 'good for your scam.'"

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
E-Commerce Security: What Every Enterprise Needs to Know
The mainstream use of EMV smartcards in the US has experts predicting an increase in online fraud. Organizations will need to look at new tools and processes for building better breach detection and response capabilities.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio