Threat Intelligence

12/20/2018
12:10 PM
50%
50%

Hackers Bypass Gmail, Yahoo 2FA at Scale

A new Amnesty International report explains how cyberattackers are phishing second-factor authentication codes sent via SMS.

Amnesty International this week released a report detailing how hackers can automatically bypass multifactor authentication (MFA) when the second factor is a text message, and they're using this tactic to break into Gmail and Yahoo accounts at scale.

MFA is generally recommended; however, its security varies depending on the chosen factor. Consumers prefer second-factor codes sent via text messages because they're easy to access. Unfortunately for some, cybercriminals like them for the same reason.

Amnesty discovered several credential phishing campaigns, likely run by the same attacker, targeting hundreds of individuals across the Middle East and North Africa. One campaign went after Tutanota and ProtonMail accounts; another hit hundreds of Google and Yahoo users. The latter was a targeted phishing campaign designed to steal text-based second-factor codes.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists from the Middle East and North Africa shared suspicious emails with Amnesty, which reports most of this campaign's targets seem to come from the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt, and Palestine.

Most targets initially receive a fake security alert warning them of potential account compromise and instructing them to change their password. It's a simple scheme but effective with HRDs, who have to be on constant high alert for physical and digital security.

From there, targets are sent to a convincing but fake Google or Yahoo site to enter their credentials; then they are redirected to a page where they learn they've been sent a two-step verification code. Entering the code presents them with a password reset form. Most people wouldn't question a password change prompt from Google as it seems legitimate.

Attackers automate the full process: getting victims to log into their email accounts, obtaining the two-factor code, and prompting them to change their passwords.

It's worth noting text-based authentication is mostly unsafe for high-risk people because attackers have to pick a specific target. For corporate leaders and other folks holding sensitive data, it's worth exploring stronger methods of MFA, such as physical security keys.

Read more details here.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
It Takes an Average of 3 to 6 Months to Fill a Cybersecurity Job
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  3/12/2019
Cybercriminals Think Small to Earn Big
Dark Reading Staff 3/12/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: LOL  Hope this one wins
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
Organizations are responding to new threats with new processes for detecting and mitigating them. Here's a look at how the discipline of incident response is evolving.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-6149
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-18
An unquoted search path vulnerability was identified in Lenovo Dynamic Power Reduction Utility prior to version 2.2.2.0 that could allow a malicious user with local access to execute code with administrative privileges.
CVE-2018-15509
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-18
Five9 Agent Desktop Plus 10.0.70 has Incorrect Access Control (issue 2 of 2).
CVE-2018-20806
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-17
Phamm (aka PHP LDAP Virtual Hosting Manager) 0.6.8 allows XSS via the login page (the /public/main.php action parameter).
CVE-2019-5616
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-15
CircuitWerkes Sicon-8, a hardware device used for managing electrical devices, ships with a web-based front-end controller and implements an authentication mechanism in JavaScript that is run in the context of a user's web browser.
CVE-2018-17882
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-15
An Integer overflow vulnerability exists in the batchTransfer function of a smart contract implementation for CryptoBotsBattle (CBTB), an Ethereum token. This vulnerability could be used by an attacker to create an arbitrary amount of tokens for any user.