Yesterday, we talked about the rise of phishing in shared hosting environments. Of course, you probably know that you can be a phishing victim in other types of hosting environments as well. These attacks can be catastrophic for businesses, as well as the individuals whose data is compromised.
Let’s take a look at the statistics of phishing: how often it occurs, who’s affected, and if there is anything you can do to protect yourself. These statistics and all associated information is compiled from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) April 2013 report, and all data gathered from all over the world represents the latter half of 2012.
How Many Attacks Were There, And What Sites Were Affected?
According to the report, 123,486 separate attacks took place worldwide. If you compare that to the 93,462 that took place in the first half of 2012, you’ll see that’s quite the increase. As we discussed in yesterday’s article pertaining to shared hosting, attacks occurring on shared virtual servers allowed multiple domains to be attacked all at the same time.
Because of the attack on shared hosting environments, 89,748 separate domain names were compromised. 2,489 of those attacks were exposed on 1,841 separate IP addresses instead of on domain names. It is important to note that none of these phishing attacks took place on IPv6 addresses.
IPv6 is the latest IP, designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to address the problem they knew would come: the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. It isn’t interoperable with IPv4, but is rather an independent network working in parallel with IPv4. One of the reasons no attacks have taken place could simply be because IPv6 traffic share is only nearing 1%: the majority of internet traffic is still carried on IPv4.
Hacked/Compromised Domains vs. Maliciously Registered Domains
Out of that 89,748 domain names that were the victim of phishing, the APWG thinks 5,835 domains were maliciously registered by the phishers themselves. That is good, because it appears this practice is declining: 7,712 were labeled as malicious in the first half of 2012, and 14,650 in the beginning of 2011.
The rest of the domains were hacked, whether shared or cheap web hosting environments. When it comes to phishers using sub-domain services, the numbers fell here as well: only 14% to 8% of the overall number of attacks.
Phishers are still relying on URL shortening services to trick phishing URLs, but only 785 phishing attacks such as this took place in the second half of 2012.
URL shortening is often harmless, like within the Twitter platform, when the number of characters that can be entered is limited. Think Bitly, a URL shortening service that saw their shortened links accessed 2.1 billion times in November 2009. When a spammer or hacker uses URL shortening, it can lead to the shutting down of the URL by their cheap web hosting provider. 65% of shortened URLs found to be malicious were discovered at one provider alone, TinyURL.com.
Are Some TLDs More Popular For Phishing?
It seems that phishers maliciously register domains in only three TLDs: .com, .info, and Thailand’s .tk. Phishers also seem to love Paypal, as it sees 39% of the overall attacks. 48% of phishing domains were .com.
What About Registrars?
79% of maliciously registered domains appear to have been registered with 21 different registrars, most of them in China. They include Shanghai Yovole Networks; Hang Zhou E-Business Services; Chengdu West Dimension Digital Technology; Intenret.bs; Jiangsu Bangning Science; Melbourne IT; Beijing Innovative; 1API; Directl/PDR; Bizcn.com; Register.com; Xin Net Technology Corp; OVH; GoDaddy; Name.com; Fast Domain; eNom Inc.; tucows; and 1 and 1 Internet AG.
There may be no way to fully protect yourself against phishing attacks. However, by staying away from a shared servers and knowing the information that could help you decrease the chances you’ll fall victim, you can make cheap web hosting work for you without compromising your data.
Is phishing a concern of yours? Have you taken the proper steps to decrease your chances of being a victim?