Vulnerabilities / Threats
12/14/2009
04:58 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Strong Authentication Not Strong Enough

Cyber thieves are defeating two-factor authentication systems. Gartner recommends defense-in-depth.

Two-factor authentication -- used to protect online bank accounts with both a password and a computer-generated one-time passcode -- is supposed to be more secure than relying on a single password.

But Gartner Research VP Avivah Litan warns that cyber criminals have had success defeating two-factor authentication systems in Web browsing sessions using Trojan-based man-in-the-middle attacks.

A Gartner Research note written by Litan explains that in the past few months, Gartner has heard from many banks around the world that rely on one-time-password authentication systems. Accounts at these banks have been compromised by man-in-the-middle attacks -- the report uses the term "man-in-the-browser" -- despite the use of two-factor security.

One technique that the fraudsters have been using to bypass security controls is call forwarding.

"[B]anks that rely on voice telephony for user transaction verification have seen those systems and processes compromised by thieves who persuade telecom carriers to forward legitimate user phone calls to the thief's cell phone," the report says. "These targeted attacks have resulted in theft of money and/or information, if the bank has no other defenses sufficient to prevent unauthorized access to their applications and customer accounts."

A man-in-the-middle attack involves using software or hardware to intercept network traffic then send it to its destination so that the information can be used without the knowledge of the sender or the intended recipient.

In an e-mail, Litan said that the attacks have involved the Zeus Trojan and other customized malware.

The malware sometimes uses anti-forensic capabilities that re-write account balances in the user's browser, so that the user believes his or her bank account has the funds it should, even through it is empty.

The Gartner report recommends addition defenses to monitor user behavior and/or transaction values, as well as out-of-band transaction verification.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which issued a warning about attacks on commercial bank accounts in November, total losses as of October amounted to about $100 million so far this year.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-2214
Published: 2015-03-05
NetCat 5.01 and earlier allows remote attackers to obtain the installation path via the redirect_url parameter to netshop/post.php.

CVE-2015-2215
Published: 2015-03-05
Open redirect vulnerability in the Services single sign-on server helper (services_sso_server_helper) module for Drupal allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via unspecified parameters.

CVE-2015-2216
Published: 2015-03-05
SQL injection vulnerability in ecomm-sizes.php in the Photocrati theme 4.x for WordPress allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the prod_id parameter.

CVE-2015-2218
Published: 2015-03-05
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the wp_ajax_save_item function in wonderpluginaudio.php in the WonderPlugin Audio Player plugin before 2.1 for WordPress allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) item[name] or (2) item[customcss] parameter in a w...

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.