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New style of phishing attack discovered

Hackers can now plant information on official websites

The rate of innovation in phishing has been underlined with the discovery of an attempt to hijack a website frame on a legitimate banking site.

The hack was revealed this week by UK security company Netcraft, which tracks such new forms of incursion using reports from its user community. The target in this instance was the online log-in of US-based Charter One Bank.

In contrast to established phishing techniques where whole pages are reproduced at bogus sites, the new "cross-frame" scripting approach is able to inject content on to a real web page, making it extremely difficult to detect.

Anybody visiting a website while prey to the attack – for example, following a phishing e-mail link – would be presented with what would look like the real website, in which had been planted a fake "account update" form.

An attack such as this would have to be directed at a specific bank website and wouldn’t necessarily be possible on all banking websites.

Nevertheless, the ability to carry out such an audacious attack gives some insight into the level of creativity now being employed by phishers.

According to the security blog of Dow Jones columnist Jeremy Wagstaff, the website hole is believed to have been fixed by the bank in recent days.


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