Internet Traffic Hijacking: Are You Really On The Right Website?

Cyber Crime

When you enter a website’s URL and a page appears in your browser, you assume you’re in the right place. That might not always be the case, however. As Jaikumar Vijayan of Computer World reports, Man in the Middle attacks, or Border Gateway Protocol hijacking, reroutes internet traffic and is a growing problem.

About 1500 instances of these attacks have been observed in 2013. That’s a fairly low number considering the amount of traffic online each day, but it reveals that these attacks are possible and something users need to protect themselves from.

These attacks don’t permanently re-route traffic. That would immediately signal to the owner of sites they’re diverting traffic from that something is wrong. Instead, the hijacking of traffic is only temporary, sometimes only lasting for a matter of minutes.

Users who fall victim to these attacks find themselves on a different site than the one they intended to go to. Sometimes, that difference isn’t obvious, however. In many instances, criminals hijack traffic from banking websites. They also create a site that looks fairly similar, or at least passable, and then capture users log-in information. Unfortunately, many users assume they’re in the right place, so minor differences don’t alert them there’s a problem. Sometimes, just having a company’s logo and a place to log-in is enough to fool users.

Attacks like this are the reason many banks have put additional security measures into their log-in process. For example, many financial institutions include a picture and custom greeting for each user before they enter their password. If those don’t appear, users are warned not to log-in.

For individuals, the way to protect yourself from these attacks is to be aware of them and be cautious on any site where you are asked to log-in. Take a moment to look around the site and try to notice any differences from the site you’re used to visiting.

For website owners more precautions are needed to protect users.

For help adding security to your website, business network or personal computer, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

November 20th, 2013