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In-session phishing attacks

Graham Titterington | Jan. 21, 2009
Fraudsters look for more effective ways of stealing personal credentials from online users of secure sites

Internet protection needs enhancing

The industry needs to increase its defences against phishing to counter this new threat. This can be done at three levels:

Users should deploy web browser security tools and apply all available patches. Browser suppliers should address the issue of the JavaScript vulnerability. Future browsers should warn when moving between websites and when visiting untrustworthy websites. This requires intelligence about Internet sites, as is now being developed by security vendors.

The main security vendors are developing Internet monitoring activities to detect the sources of malware and traffic patterns associated with phishing and spam attacks. These activities are focused against high-volume attacks, while in-session phishing is a more targeted strategy. The dialogue between the victims browser and the phishing site is a potential tell-tale sign that might be detectable, but this will require enhancements to current tools and processes. Security suppliers should look at how they can improve their detection capabilities.

It is very difficult to educate large user communities, and it is particularly difficult when the users are not employed by or controlled by the organisation hosting the website. We therefore need a multi-faceted approach to current and future threats, with the maximum amount of support from the technology in the infrastructure.

Graham Titterington is a principal analyst at Ovum, specialising in IT security and business continuity.


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