Mobile Chrome Hoax Could Target Android Users

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Mobile Chrome Hoax Could Target Android Users

A brand new technique for hiding the true location of an internet site from customers of the cellular Chrome Web browser has come to mild.

Phishers can trick customers into revealing their credentials for a reputable web site to operators of a malicious one, safety researcher James Fisher reported in a publish on his private weblog Saturday.

Scammers can exploit cellular Chrome’s characteristic that hides the handle bar when customers are scrolling on a Web web page by inserting an handle bar that permits a faux web site to pose as a reputable one, resembling that of a financial institution, Fisher defined.

Making issues worse, scammers can create a “scroll jail” that forestalls customers from seeing the true URL for the web page even after they scroll to the highest.

“The user thinks they’re scrolling up in the page,” Fisher wrote, “however the truth is they’re solely scrolling up within the scroll jail! Like a dream in Inception, the person believes they’re in their very own browser, however they’re truly in a browser inside their browser.”

Minor Issue

Although Fisher’s discovery is not excellent news for shoppers, it appears to be a minor subject, as a result of a Web web page’s true URL will seem within the handle bar initially, famous Thomas Reed, director of Mac & Mobile at Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity software program maker primarily based in Santa Clara, California.

“It would require a very specific set of user behaviors to make this useful,” he instructed TechNewsWorld. “I can see some people exhibiting those behaviors, though, so it’s definitely an issue.”

However, “I wouldn’t consider this a serious threat, because users would just need to pay attention to the URL bar when they first visit the site,” Reed stated. “Honestly, I don’t foresee this getting used much, if at all.”

It’s far simpler for somebody phishing for private info to make use of a homograph assault, he identified. In that sort of assault, a scammer takes a website title and substitutes characters that in the first place look appear to be the unique characters. A zero may be substituted for the letter “O,” for instance, or a one for the letter “l.”

The assault Fisher described is a proof-of-concept demonstration, not one thing present in a hacker’s toolkit, stated Cameron Palan, a senior menace analysis analyst at Webroot, an Internet safety firm in Broomfield, Colorado.

“This isn’t an attack discovered in the wild and may never affect users if Chrome is updated quickly,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.

Google, which owns Chrome, didn’t reply to our request to remark for this story.

Low ROI for Hackers

It’s not going that this phishing ploy poses a serious menace to shoppers, stated Jonathan Tanner, a senior safety researcher with Barracuda Networks, primarily based in Campbell, California.

“The amount of technical ability and time required to successfully implement this will make it unlikely to be seen much in the wild, and Google — and possibly other browser makers — will undoubtedly patch this faster than the speed at which it could become a common sight for phishing pages,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.

“I doubt the returns on implementing this method would be worth the work,” he stated. “It’s unlikely that this technique alone would result in a significant increase in follow-through on the part of users being phished.”

Unlike some browser assaults, this one is not primarily based on a vulnerability, noticed Mounir Hahad, head of the menace lab for Juniper Networks, a community safety and efficiency firm primarily based in Sunnyvale, California.

“This is trickery,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.

“There is no way to force the download of malicious content, trigger a remote code execution or any malicious activity,” Hahad stated.

“This is just a visual trick that may make some people believe they are on a different website than the one they actually surfed to,” he continued.

This sort of trickery needn’t be restricted to cellular Chrome, Hahad identified. “Other browsers and other operating systems have different implementations that may allow for a less sophisticated version of this trick.”

Consumer Protect Thyself

While the faux handle bar assault is designed to be stealthy, an alert client can establish it.

“Consumers can recognize this type of attack when the website in the address bar changes unexpectedly after scrolling down the Web page and doesn’t seem to respond to interaction as expected,” Hahad defined.

“Tap the bar to test it,” Webroot’s Palan added. “The fake one is nonfunctional. Also, the number of current tabs displayed on the fake bar will not likely match your own.”

Once a person begins scrolling down the web page, distinguishing the faux browser from the true browser may be very tough, famous Paul Bischoff, a privateness advocate for Comparitech, a evaluations, recommendation and knowledge web site for client safety merchandise primarily based in Maidstone, Kent, UK.

“The best way to spot the fake is to take note of the real page URL before scrolling down,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.

Consumers ought to be cautious of hyperlinks that result in login screens, Barracuda’s Tanner suggested.

“Better yet, manually type in the full and correct URL for any site that a you want to login to. That should be sufficient for users to protect themselves,” he advisable.

“While novel, this attack is not particularly significant and won’t likely be used much in the wild so general security measures are sufficient,” Tanner added.

Growing Problem

If faking an handle bar the best way Fisher described have been to catch on in phishing circles, it might be a little bit of an anomaly.

“Most phishing campaigns are platform-agnostic,” Bischoff stated. “It doesn’t matter whether you encounter them on mobile or desktop.”

Phishing assaults are very widespread on cellular gadgets, Malwarebytes’ Reed famous.

“However, one advantage mobile device users have is the availability of apps for most sites that attackers would want to mimic,” he stated.

“For example, if you are a Bank of America customer, you’d be more likely to use the Bank of America app than the Bank of America website on your mobile device,” Reed identified.

“Still, if an attacker can get a mobile user to tap a link, they can still snare plenty of victims,” he stated.

Phishing assaults on cellular gadgets possible are on the rise because of the speedy progress within the sector, defined Jonathan Olivera, a menace analyst with Centripetal Networks, a cybersecurity options supplier in Herdon, Virginia.

“The bad actors will always follow the areas that have the most users,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.

“The mobile platforms and application developers have an incentive to produce as many products as feasible to satisfy their user base,” Olivera stated, “which results in security vulnerabilities in many of them.”


John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His areas of focus embrace cybersecurity, IT points, privateness, e-commerce, social media, synthetic intelligence, huge information and client electronics. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government Security News. Email John.



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