A software kit has been discovered for sale on the Internet that makes it possible for non-experts to set up and carry out sophisticated phishing attacks on large numbers of websites.
EMC’s RSA division reports that its Anti-Fraud Detection Center (AFCC) found the ‘universal man-in-the-middle phishing kit’ being offered in a free demonstration version on a criminal forum monitored by the company.
The kit – said to have a user-friendly interface designed to help the non-technical criminal – automates the programming needed to pull off a normally tricky man-in the middle attack on websites such as banks or e-commerce sites.
Typically, the attack generated by the kit would start by duping users into clicking on a link embedded within a phishing email. This would direct them to a fraudulent URL able to communicate with the genuine website in real time, retrieving content from that site to make the scam appear as convincing as possible.
Apart from the fact such attacks can be carried out quickly and simply on multiple websites, it offers the advantage of giving criminals access to all information exchanged with the attacked site, not just the basic login. According to RSA, the kit qualifies as ‘universal’ because it can be used on any website, and thus attacks don’t need to be tailored for each site
"As institutions put additional online security measures in place, inevitably the fraudsters are looking at new ways of duping innocent victims and stealing their information and assets,” said Marc Gaffan of RSA.
“While these types of attacks are still considered 'next generation,' we expect them to become more widespread over the course of the next 12-18 months," he said.
Working man-in-the-middle attacks are relatively rare but not unheard of by any means. Last year, the Sinowal Trojan was found circulating in Germany by Kaspersky Lab.
RSA itself was acquired by its current owners, EMC, last summer.