Lately my studies have gone over email spoofing and hooking browsers using BeEF. Email spoofing in itself is easy enough, with editable “from” fields in many email apps, but I learned a few new cool approaches to make the spoofing far more accurate, enough to fool Gmail. Browser hooking is very cool, it’s frankly shocking to see just how much can be done to a victim’s device just through a browser. Then I consider that Chromebooks are basically a PC running through a browser. The trend is definitely to make browsers even more central to electronic device usage, and I’m not convinced that the work taking place for improved browser security is commensurate with the needs for it.
Most of this Social Engineering section has been based around one simple trojan, easily created and capable of bypassing antivirus programs. Whether it’s through spoofed emails, browser redirection, fake updates, or other BeEF tricks, the delivery of the trojan has been simple. The approaches are also fairly convincing on the face of it – getting someone to open a zipped .pdf or .png which is secretly a trojan is not hard when they are convinced it comes from someone they know and trust. At first approach, the browser hooking techniques I have seen appear a little more crude and unsophisticated – why would Firefox need to redirect you for an update, for example? – but could definitely work on more casual users. Phishing login data through a fake login window is still effective, especially when it’s from a frame in the user’s current page and doesn’t involve a redirect or an obviously fake URL in the header. Capturing screenshots, and even commandeering the webcam and microphone, is of course far more insidious and unlikely to be detected once the browser is hooked.
My main takeaway from this so far is that I’m gaining a lot more respect for proper preparation work in information gathering before making the first attack. Proper research with Maltego, or just careful use of Google and social media, clearly make an attack far more likely to succeed. As I’ve noted before, this suggests we should all be far more protective of our data and privacy – but how realistic is that really in the modern age, when simply applying for jobs or keeping in touch with your friends all but requires social media accounts?
I’m also surprised at the suggested measures for detecting trojans like the ones I have made – far too manual, like checking file properties. Fortunately the OSes I use will not run malicious code without my active consent, but the way I had my Windows rig set up (back when I had one) would be far more vulnerable despite the firewall, antivirus, and VPN.
Next up is some more work on networks, e.g. for using BeEF outside the user’s network, and then going into post-exploitation attacks in more depth. Fun!