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Social Engineering

 

Maxim Maximov & Ruslan Iskhakov

 

 

 

Lecturer: Teeriaho Jouko

 

Author (s): Maxim Maximov, Ruslan Iskhakov Year:
Commissioned by: Thesis title: Number of pages: Teeriaho Jouko Social Engineering

 

This thesis project about social hackering, or social engineering, about maintain security features, security development, terminology and technics of social engineering, social engineering user protection, computer security and computer security exploits. Main goal – give an understanding to social engineering protection, data and computer security. Parts of materials are taken from Internet, part from book about computer security. Result - is to provide a peoples thinking about social engineering and effects of it.

 

 

Key words: hackering, security, social engineering, hacker.

Other notes: Thesis includes a multimedia presentation.

 

CONTENTS

1 Introduction……………………………………………………….1

Report

Social engineering techniques and terms

Pretexting

Diversion theft

Phishing

IVR or phone phishing

Baiting

Quid pro quo

Other types

Countermeasures

Notable social engineers

Kevin Mitnick

Badir Brothers

Christopher Hadnagy

Archangel

Steve Stasiukonis

Mike Ridpath

Others

Law

Pretexting of telephone records

Federal legislation

St Source Information Specialists

Hewlett Packard

In popular culture

Conclusion

Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

One of the biggest problems in our century – data security. Files, knowledge and secrets, all of information in our world must be secured. But the weakest part of security is human. This thesis provides peoples to think every time then they will be asked for some information. Social engineering is the most powerful hacker’s weapon in the world. All of a great hacking procedures or virus attacks were done by social engineering.



 

Report

Social engineering is commonly understood to mean the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. The people who need to hide their crimes say it is similar to a confidence trick or simple fraud, the term typically applies to trickery or deception for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or computer system access; in most cases the attacker never comes face-to-face with the global criminals/victims.

Accusers say "Social engineering" as an act of psychological manipulation was popularized by hacker-turned-consultant. Global criminals name the term as associated with the social sciences, but its usage has caught on among computer professionals.

Social engineering techniques and terms

All social engineering techniques are based on specific attributes of human decision-making known as cognitive biases. These biases, sometimes called "bugs in the human hardware," are exploited in various combinations to create attack techniques, some of which are listed here:

Pretexting

Pretexting is the act of creating and using an invented scenario (the pretext) to engage a targeted victim in a manner that increases the chance the victim will divulge information or perform actions that would be unlikely in ordinary circumstances. An elaborate lie, it most often involves some prior research or setup and the use of this information for impersonation (e.g., date of birth, Social Security Number, last bill amount) to establish legitimacy in the mind of the target.

This technique can be used to trick a business into disclosing customer information as well as by private investigators to obtain telephone records, utility records, banking records and other information directly from company service representatives. The information can then be used to establish even greater legitimacy under tougher questioning with a manager, e.g., to make account changes, get specific balances, etc.

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Pretexting can also be used to impersonate co-workers, police, bank, tax authorities, clergy, insurance investigators — or any other individual who could have perceived authority or right-to-know in the mind of the targeted victim. The pretexter must simply prepare answers to questions that might be asked by the victim. In some cases all that is needed is a voice that sounds authoritative, an earnest tone, and an ability to think on one's feet.

Diversion theft

Diversion theft, also known as the "Corner Game" or "Round the Corner Game", originated in the East End of London.

In summary, diversion theft is a "con" exercised by professional thieves, normally against a transport or courier company. The objective is to persuade the persons responsible for a legitimate delivery that the consignment is requested elsewhere — hence, "round the corner".

With a load/consignment redirected, the thieves persuade the driver to unload the consignment near to, or away from, the consignee's address, in the pretense that it is "going straight out" or "urgently required somewhere else".

The "con" or deception has many different facets, which include social engineering techniques to persuade legitimate administrative or traffic personnel of a transport or courier company to issue instructions to the driver to redirect the consignment or load.

Another variation of diversion theft is stationing a security van outside a bank on a Friday evening. Smartly dressed guards use the line "Night safe's out of order, Sir". By this method shopkeepers etc. are gulled into depositing their takings into the van. They do of course obtain a receipt but later this turns out to be worthless. A similar technique was used many years ago to steal a Steinway grand piano from a radio studio in London. "Come to overhaul the piano, guv" was the chat line.

Phishing

Phishing is a technique of fraudulently obtaining private information. Typically, the phisher sends an e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate business—a bank, or credit card company—requesting "verification" of information and warning of some dire consequence if it is not provided. The e-mail usually contains a link to a fraudulent web page that seems legitimate—with company logos and content—and has a form requesting everything from a home address to an ATM card's PIN.

For example, 2003 saw the proliferation of a phishing scam in which users received e-mails supposedly from eBay claiming that the user's account was about to be suspended unless a link provided was clicked to update a credit card (information that the genuine eBay already had). Because it is relatively simple to make a Web site resemble a legitimate organization's site by mimicking the HTML code, the scam counted on people being tricked into thinking they were being contacted by eBay and subsequently, were going to eBay's site to update their account information. By spamming large groups of people, the "phisher" counted on the e-mail being read by a percentage of people who already had listed credit card numbers with eBay legitimately, who might respond.

IVR or phone phishing

This technique uses a rogue Interactive voice response (IVR) system to recreate a legitimate-sounding copy of a bank or other institution's IVR system. The victim is prompted (typically via a phishing e-mail) to call in to the "bank" via a (ideally toll free) number provided in order to "verify" information. A typical system will reject log-ins continually, ensuring the victim enters PINs or passwords multiple times, often disclosing several different passwords. More advanced systems transfer the victim to the attacker posing as a customer service agent for further questioning.

One could even record the typical commands ("Press one to change your password, press two to speak to customer service" ...) and play back the direction manually in real time, giving the appearance of being an IVR without the expense.

Phone phishing is also called vishing.

Baiting

Baiting is like the real-world Trojan Horse that uses physical media and relies on the curiosity or greed of the victim.

In this attack, the attacker leaves a malware infected floppy disk, CD ROM, or USB flash drive in a location sure to be found (bathroom, elevator, sidewalk, parking lot), gives it a legitimate looking and curiosity-piquing label, and simply waits for the victim to use the device.

For example, an attacker might create a disk featuring a corporate logo, readily available from the target's web site, and write "Executive Salary Summary Q2 2010" on the front. The attacker would then leave the disk on the floor of an elevator or somewhere in the lobby of the targeted company. An unknowing employee might find it and subsequently insert the disk into a computer to satisfy their curiosity, or a good Samaritan might find it and turn it in to the company.

In either case as a consequence of merely inserting the disk into a computer to see the contents, the user would unknowingly install malware on it, likely giving an attacker unfettered access to the victim's PC and perhaps, the targeted company's internal computer network.

Unless computer controls block the infection, PCs set to "auto-run" inserted media may be compromised as soon as a rogue disk is inserted.

Quid pro quo

An attacker calls random numbers at a company claiming to be calling back from technical support. Eventually they will hit someone with a legitimate problem, grateful that someone is calling back to help them. The attacker will "help" solve the problem and in the process have the user type commands that give the attacker access or launch malware.

In a 2003 information security survey, 90% of office workers gave researchers what they claimed was their password in answer to a survey question in exchange for a cheap pen. Similar surveys in later years obtained similar results using chocolates and other cheap lures, although they made no attempt to validate the passwords.

Other types

Common confidence tricksters or fraudsters also could be considered "social engineers" in the wider sense, in that they deliberately deceive and manipulate people, exploiting human weaknesses to obtain personal benefit. They may, for example, use social engineering techniques as part of an IT fraud.

A very recent type of social engineering techniques include spoofing or cracking IDs of people having popular e-mail IDs such as Yahoo!, GMail, Hotmail, etc. Among the many motivations for deception are:

Phishing credit-card account numbers and their passwords.

Cracking private e-mails and chat histories, and manipulating them by using common editing techniques before using them to extort money and creating distrust among individuals.

Cracking websites of companies or organizations and destroying their reputation.

Computer virus hoaxes

Countermeasures

Organizations must decide which information is sensitive.

Then they must tell their employees which information is sensitive.

Employees must be trained to verify the identity of a person who request sensitive information.

If that person's identity cannot be verified, then the employee must be trained to politely refuse the request.

Security must be tested periodically, and these tests must be unannounced.

Notable social engineers

Kevin Mitnick

Reformed computer criminal and later security consultant Kevin Mitnick popularized the term "social engineering", pointing out that it is much easier to trick someone into giving a password for a system than to spend the effort to crack into the system. He claims it was the single most effective method in his arsenal.

Badir Brothers

Brothers Ramy, Muzher, and Shadde Badir—all of whom were blind from birth—managed to set up an extensive phone and computer fraud scheme in Israel in the 1990s using social engineering, voice impersonation, and Braille-display computers.

Christopher Hadnagy

Security consultant, published author, and founder of the first official Social Engineering Framework. Involved in formalizing Social Engineering concepts to better define the various threats it poses.

Archangel

The white hat hacker, computer security consultant, and writer for Phrack Magazine, Archangel (nicknamed "The Greatest Social Engineer of All Time") has demonstrated social engineering techniques to gain everything from passwords to pizza to automobiles to airline tickets.

Steve Stasiukonis

Security Consultant for Secure Network Technologies. Inventor of the USB thumb drive test where USB sticks contained exploits to test if employees would run them from within their business environments. This attack is now one of the most popular social engineering techniques in existence and is used to test the human element of security around the world.

Mike Ridpath

Security consultant for IOActive, published author, and speaker. Emphasizes techniques and tactics for social engineering cold calling. Became notable after his talks where he would play recorded calls and explain his thought process on what he was doing to get root/admin through the phone.

Others

Other social engineers include Frank Abagnale, David Bannon, Peter Foster, and Steven Jay Russell, also don't forget MrToasteh and Dakoslug (Minecraft social engineering)

Law

In common law, pretexting is an invasion of privacy tort of appropriation.

Pretexting of telephone records

In December 2006, United States Congress approved a Senate sponsored bill making the pretexting of telephone records a federal felony with fines of up to $250,000 and ten years in prison for individuals (or fines of up to $500,000 for companies). It was signed by president George W. Bush on January 12, 2007.

Federal legislation

The 1999 "GLBA" is a U.S. Federal law that specifically addresses pretexting of banking records as an illegal act punishable under federal statutes. When a business entity such as a private investigator, SIU insurance investigator, or an adjuster conducts any type of deception, it falls under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This federal agency has the obligation and authority to ensure that consumers are not subjected to any unfair or deceptive business practices. US Federal Trade Commission Act, Section 5 of the FTCA states, in part: "Whenever the Commission shall have reason to believe that any such person, partnership, or corporation has been or is using any unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce, and if it shall appear to the Commission that a proceeding by it in respect thereof would be to the interest of the public, it shall issue and serve upon such person, partnership, or corporation a complaint stating its charges in that respect."

The statute states that when someone obtains any personal, non-public information from a financial institution or the consumer, their action is subject to the statute. It relates to the consumer's relationship with the financial institution. For example, a pretexter using false pretenses either to get a consumer's address from the consumer's bank, or to get a consumer to disclose the name of his or her bank, would be covered. The determining principle is that pretexting only occurs when information is obtained through false pretenses.

While the sale of cell telephone records has gained significant media attention, and telecommunications records are the focus of the two bills currently before the United States Senate, many other types of private records are being bought and sold in the public market. Alongside many advertisements for cell phone records, wireline records and the records associated with calling cards are advertised. As individuals shift to VoIP telephones, it is safe to assume that those records will be offered for sale as well. Currently, it is legal to sell telephone records, but illegal to obtain them.

1st Source Information Specialists

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Kalamazoo, Michigan), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, expressed concern over the easy access to personal mobile phone records on the Internet during Wednesday's E&C Committee hearing on "Phone Records For Sale: Why Aren't Phone Records Safe From Pretexting?" Illinois became the first state to sue an online records broker when Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued 1st Source Information Specialists, Inc., on 20 January, a spokeswoman for Madigan's office said. The Florida-based company operates several Web sites that sell mobile telephone records, according to a copy of the suit. The attorneys general of Florida and Missouri quickly followed Madigan's lead, filing suit on 24 January and 30 January, respectively, against 1st Source Information Specialists and, in Missouri's case, one other records broker - First Data Solutions, Inc.

Several wireless providers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, and Cingular filed earlier lawsuits against records brokers, with Cingular winning an injunction against First Data Solutions and 1st Source Information Specialists on January 13. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) introduced legislation in February 2006 aimed at curbing the practice. The Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006 would create felony criminal penalties for stealing and selling the records of mobile phone, landline, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) subscribers.

Hewlett Packard

Patricia Dunn, former chairwoman of Hewlett Packard, reported that the HP board hired a private investigation company to delve into who was responsible for leaks within the board. Dunn acknowledged that the company used the practice of pretexting to solicit the telephone records of board members and journalists. Chairman Dunn later apologized for this act and offered to step down from the board if it was desired by board members.[26] Unlike Federal law, California law specifically forbids such pretexting. The four felony charges brought on Dunn were dismissed.

 

In popular culture

In the film Hackers, the protagonist used pretexting when he asked a security guard for the telephone number to a TV station's modem while posing as an important executive.

In Jeffrey Deaver's book The Blue Nowhere, social engineering to obtain confidential information is one of the methods used by the killer, Phate, to get close to his victims.

In the movie Live Free or Die Hard, Justin Long is seen pretexting that his father is dying from a heart attack to have a On-Star Assist representative start what will become a stolen car.

In the movie Sneakers, one of the characters poses as a low level security guard's superior in order to convince him that a security breach is just a false alarm.

In the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, one of the characters poses over the telephone as a museum guard's superior in order to move the guard away from his post.

In the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever, Bond is seen gaining entry to the Whyte laboratory with a then-state-of-the-art card-access lock system by "tailgating". He merely waits for an employee to come to open the door, then posing himself as a rookie at the lab, fakes inserting a non-existent card while the door is unlocked for him by the employee.

In the television show Rockford Files, The character Jim Rockford used pretexting often in his private investigation work.

Conclusion

This report noticed about security and show examples and methods of social engineering. Social security is necessary part of any company or person. Your money safety is depends on your wariness. Company’s security depends on personnel social security.

 




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