The Channel logo


By | John Leyden 2nd March 2009 10:00

Phishers automate attacks using 'Google hacking'

Why pay when you can pwn?

Three in four phishing sites are hosted on compromised servers, according to a new survey.

A study of 2,486 fraudulent websites found that 76 per cent were housed on hacked webservers, typically pwned after hackers identified well-known vulnerabilities using search engine queries. Free web hosting for fraudulent websites was used in just 17.4 per cent of cases.

The paper, called Evil Searching: Compromise and Recompromise of Internet Hosts for Phishing, by security researchers Tyler Moore and Richard Clayton, also found that a sizeable minority of compromised systems were serial victims of attack.

One in five (19 per cent) were hit again less than six months after a phishing-related hack attack. That's because legitimate owners might turf out fraudsters from their systems but they often fail to fix underlying vulnerabilities that let them in.

The study can be found here (PDF). More commentary on the study can be found in a posting by Richard Clayton on the Light the Blue Touchpaper Blog here. ®

comment icon Read 1 comment on this article alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


Suit-and-tie-wearing man tries to meditate, take deep breaths in faux yoga pose. Photo by Shutterstock
Emotional intelligence, not tech skills, is the way to woo suits
League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe