Home page logo

fulldisclosure logo Full Disclosure mailing list archives

Re: simple phishing fix
From: Peter Besenbruch <prb () lava net>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 08:04:04 -1000

On Monday 28 July 2008 20:55:10 Stian Øvrevåge wrote:
You mention phising, but I think quite a few points from the
why-your-spam-solution-wont-work-list are relevant:

"(x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected

If we stick with the narrowly focused problem of bank phishing spam, I doubt 
mailing lists would be affected. Yes, stuart, the original poster, spoke 
of "deny all" tactics, but he certainly wasn't implementing anything like 
that in practice. At least, I couldn't see it.

(x) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it

Yes, you would need to add a new filter from time to time. This would work on 
your own e-mail account, but I would see problems generalizing to more 

(x) Users of email will not put up with it

On the other hand, it sounded like the original poster wanted to share lists, 
so that anyone who wanted to could tweak theirs. People sharing such lists 
would "put up with it."

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical

I get my share of phishing spam, and most involve about a dozen domains, or 
less.  These domains have remained relatively stable over the last two years. 
Paypal still dominates. So yes, a list of the common banking sites might 
reduce the annoyance factor.

(x) Whitelists suck"

They do indeed.


1. Your filter will never be complete, there are too many
banks/institutions (with ever-changing domains etc).

See above.

2. Banks/institutions actually sends legitimate mail.

Yes, but I would not do business with a bank that did. Phishing spam has 
eliminated e-mail as a viable means of communication between banks and their 
customers. My bank doesn't know my e-mail address, and I don't bank on-line 
(but that's a whole other kettle of fish).

3. Phishers will find ways to get around the filters, either by
registering similar domain-names or by numerous browser/MTA tricks.
4. Users likely to fall for a phish is not very likely to even know
what a filter is.

What we are talking about here is the sharing of filter material on a small 
list of people who can spot a phish from a mile off. Full Disclosure isn't 
big enough to change the habits of spammers.

That said, I haven't made use of any filters specifically to weed out phishing 
spam. I use Kmail and Bogofilter, and they have caught almost every phishing 
spam I have received in the last year. Such spam was one of the firsts things 
that the Bayesian based Bogofilter learned to flag reliably. Bogofilter flags 
a far greater variety of spam reliably than flagging domains in the "from" 
field could ever hope to accomplish.

Hawaiian Astronomical Society: http://www.hawastsoc.org
HAS Deepsky Atlas: http://www.hawastsoc.org/deepsky

Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.
Charter: http://lists.grok.org.uk/full-disclosure-charter.html
Hosted and sponsored by Secunia - http://secunia.com/

  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]