Amir Herzberg wrote:
Nicely put, but I think not quite fair. From friends in financial and other companies in the states and otherwise, I hear that Trojans are very common there as well. In fact, based on my biased judgement and limited exposure, my impression is that security practice is much better in Israeli companies - both providers and users of IT - than in comparable companies in most countries. For example, in my `hall of shame` (link below) you'll find many US and multinational companies which don't protect their login pages properly with SSL (PayPal, Chase, MS, ...). I've found very few Israeli companies, and of the few I've found, two actually acted quickly to fix the problem - which is rare! Most ignored my warning, and few sent me coupons :-) [seriously]

Could it be that such problems are more often covered-up in other countries? Or maybe that the stronger awareness in Israel also implies more attackers? I think both conclusions are likely. I also think that this exposure will further increase awareness among Israeli IT managers and developers, and hence improve the security of their systems.

there is the story of the (state side) financial institution that was outsourcing some of its y2k remediation and failed to perform due diligence on the (state side) lowest bidder ... until it was too late and they were faced with having to deploy the software anyway.

one of the spoofs of SSL ... was originally it was supposed to be used for the whole shopping experience from the URL the enduser entered, thru shopping, checkout and payment. webservers found that with SSL they took a 80-90% performance hit on their thruput ... so they saved the use of SSL until checkout and payment. the SSL countermeasure to MITM-attack is that the URL the user entered is checked against the URL in the webserver certificate. However, the URL the users were entering weren't SSL/HTTPS ... they were just standard stuff ... and so there wasn't any countermeasure to MITM-attack.

If the user had gotten to a spoofed MITM site ... they could have done all their shopping and then clicked the checkout button ... which might provide HTTPS/SSL. however, if it was a spoofed site, it is highly probable that the HTTPS URL provided by the (spoofed site) checkout button was going to match the URL in any transmitted digital certificate. So for all, intents and purposes .. most sites make very little use of https/ssl as countermeasure for MITM-attacks ... simply encryption as countermeasure for skimming/harvesting (evesdropping).

in general, if the naive user is clicking on something that obfuscates the real URL (in some case they don't even have to obfuscate the real URL) ... then the crooks can still utilize https/ssl ... making sure that they have a valid digital certificate that matches the URL that they are providing.

the low-hanging fruit of fraud ROI ... says that the crooks are going to go after the easiest target, with the lowest risk, and the biggest bang-for-the buck. that has mostly been the data-at-rest transaction files. then it is other attacks on either of the end-points. attacking generalized internet channels for harvesting/skimming appears to be one of the lowest paybacks for the effort. in other domains, there have been harvesting/skimming attacks ... but again mostly on end-points ... and these are dedicated/concentrated environments where the only traffic ... is traffic of interest (any extraneous/uninteresting stuff has already been filtered out).

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