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8/16/2012
04:34 PM
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Client-Side Hacks: Fake Sites Keep Companies Vulnerable

BYTE talked to security expert Raphael Mudge about how hackers "social engineer" their way into companies. Using a fake LinkedIn site, he showed us how all it takes is one computer to compromise the security of an entire organization.

Raphael Mudge, founder of Strategic Cyber LLC, a startup company that creates software for "red teams"--independent groups hired to break an organization's security--says firewalls work great. But it's still awfully easy for an attacker to take control of a company's entire network. To prove it, Mudge demonstrated how a hacker can compromise one user's computer by sending a trick email, and from there break into the organization.

"Usually our goal is to break into a network as an adversary would do and go after the crown jewels of an organization," said Mudge, who once worked as a penetration tester. "Maybe that is social security numbers or maybe it is proving that we can do something they don't want done. And we do that to demonstrate risk and understand how well their security systems work. The most common way into an organization today is through a client side attack," he said.

See the video below for Mudge's demonstration of how a hacker can take control of a company.

An attack that uses LinkedIn to fool a victim would follow these basic steps:
-- The attacker sends an email and generates a LinkedIn invitation to take over one computer.
-- The fake LinkedIn site redirects traffic to capture usernames and passwords.
-- The attacker uses that computer as a gateway to infiltrate other computers on the network.

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