Vulnerabilities / Threats
11/30/2011
06:59 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Major Email Providers Set Phish Trap

Agari's Email Trust Fabric finds fans at AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The goal: Stop spoofing of legitimate email domains.

What do AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have in common, apart from the letter "o"? Among several possible answers, spam is certainly one. The billion email inboxes managed by the four companies get far too much spam, including plenty of phishing attacks.

In an effort to find a solution to their common problem, the four companies have been working with a startup called Agari to implement the Agari Email Trust Fabric, a email authentication layer that limits the effectiveness of phishing.

Agari's system can't stop phishing entirely because it's a social engineering attack: Phishing works by duping the recipient of a phishing message into clicking on a malicious link that appears to be legitimate. But the company claims it can eliminate a particularly effective attack vector: The misuse of trusted email domains.

The Agari Email Trust Fabric prevents malicious email senders from spoofing legitimate email domains within its set of protected mailboxes. It does this through a cloud service built using SPF and DKIM, two established domain authentication technologies.

[ 2011 was a big year for Google. Find out more in Google's Daring Dozen: 12 Big Bets In 2011. ]

Citing an RSA study, Patrick Peterson, CEO of Agari, said in a phone interview that phishing costs companies $1 billion annually.

Financial services companies, in particular, suffer from phishing, both in terms of fraud losses and diminished customer trust. But perhaps not much longer: With Agari's technology, Peterson said that some large clients are seeing 50 million phishing messages blocked per day.

"That is a massive win for them," he said, noting that Agari's system can stop 100% of phishing messages that rely on spoofing the domains of its customers. That's not every phishing attempt--deceptively misspelled domains that look like legitimate domains, for example, may not be caught--but it's a start.

Peterson says Agari can help companies understand how their online identity is being used and can help them enforce policy controls.

Google product manager Adam Dawes, in a statement, observed that Google has been working with various email authentication standards since 2004. While coordinated authentication between sender and receiver has historically proved to be a challenge, he suggests that Agari's approach can help.

"Agari's approach simplifies the authentication process for large email senders, helps them communicate clear policies to receivers like Gmail, and creates higher communications value for their email transactions," he said.

Agari's system also gathers massive amounts of data for its customers. With the help of analytical tools, customers can see what's going on in their email channel and they can share their findings with authorities or ISPs to help shut down email abuse.

Peterson, however, insists that Agari doesn't see its customers' data, and won't become a magnet for authorities seeking access to email users' data. "We think [our system] draws the line quite nicely between privacy concerns and actually providing some actionable threat intelligence," he said.

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 25-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2188
Published: 2015-02-26
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0594
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the help pages in Cisco Common Services, as used in Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution (LMS) and Cisco Security Manager, allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug IDs CSCuq54654 and CSCun1...

CVE-2015-0632
Published: 2015-02-26
Race condition in the Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a flood of Router Solicitation messages on the local network, aka Bug ID CSCuo67770.

CVE-2015-0651
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the web GUI in Cisco Application Networking Manager (ANM), and Device Manager (DM) on Cisco 4710 Application Control Engine (ACE) appliances, allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users, aka Bug ID CSCuo99753.

CVE-2015-0882
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in zencart-ja (aka Zen Cart Japanese edition) 1.3 jp through 1.3.0.2 jp8 and 1.5 ja through 1.5.1 ja allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted parameter, related to admin/includes/init_includes/init_sanitize.php an...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.