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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-3304
Published: 2014-10-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in Dell EqualLogic PS4000 with firmware 6.0 allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the default URI.

CVE-2013-7409
Published: 2014-10-30
Buffer overflow in ALLPlayer 5.6.2 through 5.8.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) and possibly execute arbitrary code via a long string in a .m3u (playlist) file.

CVE-2014-3446
Published: 2014-10-30
SQL injection vulnerability in wcm/system/pages/admin/getnode.aspx in BSS Continuity CMS 4.2.22640.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the nodeid parameter.

CVE-2014-3584
Published: 2014-10-30
The SamlHeaderInHandler in Apache CXF before 2.6.11, 2.7.x before 2.7.8, and 3.0.x before 3.0.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a crafted SAML token in the authorization header of a request to a JAX-RS service.

CVE-2014-3623
Published: 2014-10-30
Apache WSS4J before 1.6.17 and 2.x before 2.0.2, as used in Apache CXF 2.7.x before 2.7.13 and 3.0.x before 3.0.2, when using TransportBinding, does properly enforce the SAML SubjectConfirmation method security semantics, which allows remote attackers to conduct spoofing attacks via unspecified vect...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.