Monday, August 17, 2009

WASC WHID 2009 Bi-Annual Report - Social Media Sites Top Most Attacked Vertical Market

Submitted by Ryan Barnett 8/17/2009

Do you remember that line from the movie Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come"? Well, according to the data captured from the Web Application Security Consortium (WASC) Web Hacking Incidents Database (WHID) project, online criminals are re-enforcing that movie quote. The fact is that profit driven criminals have learned that they can utilize social networking types of web sites (such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace) as a means to target the huge number of end users.

Breach Security Labs, a WHID contributor, has just released a whitepaper report that analyzes the WHID events from the first half of 2009. In the report, it was found that Social Networking sites (such as Twitter) that utilize Web 2.0 types of dynamic, user-content driven data, are the #1 targeted vertical market. The reason for this is really two-fold:

1) Criminals are now directly targeting the web application end-users. The bad guys are using flaws within web applications to attempt to send malicious code to end users. Popular websites that have large user bases are now ripe targets for criminals. These are target rich environments.

2) Social networking sites are so popular partly because they allow their users to customize and update their accounts with user-driven content, widgets and add-ons. These features make the sites dynamic and fun for the end users, however they also unfortunately also significantly increase the cross-site scripting (XSS) and cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack surfaces.

The combination of these two points resulted in a number of different social media WHID 2009 Entries:

WHID 2009-2: Twitter accounts of the famous hacked
WHID 2009-4: Twitter Personal Info CSRF
WHID 2009-11: Lil Kim Facebook Hacked
WHID 2009-15: Kayne West has been Hacked
WHID 2009-23: Miley Cyrus Twitter Account Hit By Sex-Obsessed Hacker
WHID 2009-31: Double Clickjacking worm on Twitter
WHID 2009-32: 750 Twitter Accounts Hacked
WHID 2009-37: Twitter XSS/CSRF worm series

These examples clearly show that social networking sites that utilize Web 2.0 technology are the #1 attacked vertical market in WHID. This is important as social networking were grouped in the Other category in 2008. I would suspect the trend of targeting large pools of end users to continue in the future as the bad guys work on methods of automating and scaling their attacks.

No comments: