Oct 21 2008

12 Phishing Threats and Identity Theft

Category: Email Security,Identity TheftDISC @ 7:22 pm

Have you ever thought of losing something and you cannot live without it? Yes, that something can be your identity. Phishing is a practice of luring unsuspecting Internet users to a fake Web site by using authentic-looking email with the real organization’s logo, in an attempt to steal passwords, financial or personal information. In daily life people advise to retrace your steps when you lose something. The question is how you retrace your steps on cyberspace where some uber hackers know how to erase their footsteps to avoid detection. It is difficult to find phishers in cyberspace, and jurisdictional issues make it even harder to prosecute them. Then there is an issue of trust that phishers dupe people to believe that their web site is not fraudulent to collect personal/financial information.

Amongst the financial crisis, phishing might be on the rise because for many organizations information protection might be the last thing on their mind. The FDIC has created a webpage to inform and warn consumers about “phishing.” These days phishers have targeted social network organizations LinkedIn and Facebook where their members have been duped into revealing their sensitive data.

Mainly phishing attacks are targeted to steal the identity. Now the question is, how easy it is to steal somebody’s identity? Let’s say a phisher has your name and address, and then he/she can get your Social Security number with the search on AccurInt or other personal database website. A Social Security number is not the only bounty a fraudster can find on these websites, other personal/private information is available as well at minimal cost.

In the table below are the 12 threats to your online identity which can be manipulated in phishing scams, and possible countermeasures to protect your personal and financial information. Some threats are inadequate or no security controls in place. The last row of the table is a monitoring control to identify the warning signs of identity theft.


Organizations should take necessary steps to protect against identity fraud and apply whatever state and federal legislation applies to your business. Organizations which are serious about their information security should consider implementing the ISO 27001 (ISMS) standard as a best practice, which provides reasonable due diligence to protect and safeguard your information.

US Bank phishing attack exposed

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Tags: accurint, countermeasure, cyberspace, due diligence, equifax, experian, facebook, fdic, financial crisis, fraudster, identity fraud, information protection, isms, iso 27001, jurisdictional, legislation, linkedin, phishing, prosecute, safeguard, social security, threats, transunion, uber hacker

Sep 29 2008

Vista and defense in depth

Category: Information Security,Vista SecurityDISC @ 3:47 pm

To be competitive and successful in today’s business environment demands a serious consideration of information security. Sometime low risk item could damage your company business and can lead to lose sensitive data. To recover from the aftermath of an incident can be a costly proposition.

One way to deal with the new threats is to be vigilant and know your weaknesses by assessing your infrastructure. On the other hand it helps a great deal to have an operating system which comes with built in security controls which you can turn on and off based on your security needs. Microsoft claims that Vista is the most secure operating system yet and was built with security as a top priority. However with all these built in security features, you may need to make some configuration changes to fit in your security requirements.

Windows Vista comes with many built in security features to protect your business assets. Below are the new security features.


In the past access was the top priority for Microsoft operating system (open by default – start locking down as needed). Now in Vista the control is a top priority (closed by default – start opening up as needed).
Vista security development life cycle (SDLC) follows defense in depth model which compartmentalized and makes it tough for the intruder to get to the crown jewel. At the same time intruder risk the chance of detection at every layer. Defense in Depth model:


Vista Service Hardening:
Vista service hardening is designed to run services with the least possible privileges. Four different features are utilized to achieve service hardening.

o Service isolation
o Least privilege
o Restricted network access
o Session 0 isolation

Service isolation – is a method by which a service can access an object without having a super user access account to secure the objects like registry keys.

Least privilege – Based on best practice each service should utilize the least privilege necessary to accomplish the task. Under Vista, when service initiate, it request for specific privileges provided by the local system.

Restricted network access – Under Vista, a service access can be restricted by TCP/UDP port, protocol, and direction that network traffic is flowing. Restricted network access will limit attack vector by blocking unnecessary ports, protocols and direction of the traffic.

Session 0 isolation – Vista does not allow any user application to run with session 0. All user applications must run in session 1 or higher. Only services and other non-user facing application run on session 0, to maintain isolation between services and user application.

Service hardening, when combined with other security features provides a tough defense. This defense in multiple layers is aimed to safeguard your system and also enables your business to be successful by keeping the threats at acceptable distance.

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Tags: closed by default, compartmentalize, defense in depth, incident, intruder, least privilege, open by default, restricted network access, safeguard, sdlc, security features, sensitive data, service hardening, service isolation, session isolation