New Phishing Attack Uses Old IE Exploit

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-11-05 Print this article Print

Bank information solicitation is typical, but URL is obscured by bug patched earlier this year.

A new phishing attack is utilizing a vulnerability in Internet Explorer, patched early this year, to hide its true source. A serious hole in IE opens PCs up for attacks. Click here to read more.
The attack, called Citifraud.A by Panda Software, takes the form of a Web page or HTML e-mail. It has no means of self-propagation and is therefore termed a Trojan by Panda.

The page or e-mail appears to come from a bank and contains a link that appears to go to the bank Web site. The link uses a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that causes the browser to improperly display the URL of the Web site due to a flaw in a process called canonicalization. The flaw was disclosed and patched in February.

The link, if followed, actually takes the user to a malicious Web page that requests private account information.

New measures against phishing attacks may be gaining traction. Read more here about the moves to counter cyber-crime. Users who have patched their system can still receive the attack and click through to the malicious page, but they would see the true URL, which contains a number of unusual features.

Panda Software has categorized Citifraud.A with a threat level of "high." The companys Web site states that the largest numbers of infections have occurred in South America and southern Europe.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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