Jason Holt wrote:

I remember the first time a site asked for the number on the back of my credit card. It was a Walmart or Amazon purchase, and with no warning they redirected me to some site with a questionable domain. I thought for sure my session was being hijacked, and my bank had given me no idea what the number was for or whether it was something I was supposed to give out.

To me, this is closely related to the discussions we have here about web browser security semantics. With a very good understanding of the underlying PKI, we can usually sort out "secure" from "suspicious" site behaviors with some discussion, but how is the average user (or even the average engineer) supposed to cope? Is there a standard or even just a document somewhere that defines best practices for both server and user behavior with respect to SSL web sites and credit card transactions? Or are we leaving them to forward emails to each other warning them not to give out their 3-digit codes over the phone, and that they had better make sure their Dell doesn't have a DHS keylogger installed...

Even with standards in place for the consumer, that's only half of the circle. Phishers/Scammers are evolving rapidly and are either black hats themselves or have access to employing black hats to compromise sites, or perform cross-user attacks on the user. Companies like Amazon are only as secure as how they have devised their infrastructure - and as you and everyone else here knows, SSL is one layer of the "security in depth" infrastructure model. This threat vector has not been addressed by commercial entities that offer transaction services for many reasons, one being that the procurement process takes a long time just to get any security technology in place to fend off these attacks. Soon phishers will just use the site itself to phish users, pushing away the dependency on tricking the user with a "spoofed" or "mirrored" site.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 11:28:50 -0700 To: undisclosed-recipients:  ;
Subject: New Credit Card Scam

I got this from a co-worker today:
 Apparently, they don't ask for your number, just the 3 digit code on the
back. They'll tell you they're calling from your Visa or Mastercard company
and that they're trying to verify whether or not you've made a $497.99
purchase from a company in Arizona or something. They'll tell you to call
your credit card company if you have any questions, etc, and they never ask
for your card number, so it sounds pretty legit, but it's not. If it does
happen to you, within a few minutes of the phone call you'll have a charge
for $497.99 on your card. You can always call the credit card company
yourself and make sure they're the ones wanting to check about fradulent
charges, so if you get a call that sounds fishy, just tell them you'll call
them back at the number on your card.

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Best Regards,
Lance James
Secure Science Corporation
Author of 'Phishing Exposed'
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