The Netcraft Browser Extension now offers credential leak detection for extra protection against shopping site skimmers.
With brick-and-mortar shops around the world closed due to COVID-19, consumers turned to online businesses to fulfil their shopping needs. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index report, US online spending in June was $73 billion, up 76% from $42 billion last year. Even with restrictions lifted, research commissioned by Visa suggests that 74% of Britons who shopped online more often during the lockdown will continue to do so.
Netcraft currently blocks over 6,000 shopping sites which contain skimmers, and even large companies such as British Airways, Ticketmaster and Puma have fallen prey to these attacks in the past.
When you visit a shopping site, the Netcraft extension will evaluate all requests made by the web page. If a request is found to be sending credentials to a different domain, the extension will block the request to prevent your data from being stolen. A block screen will notify you about the request and provide information about the malicious behaviour that was detected. Only card number leaks are currently blocked, but other types of credentials may be enabled in future updates.
For example, if you check out using your credit card on exampleshoppingsite.com but your card details are sent to examplebadsite.com, the extension will block the request. This checking is done locally and securely in your browser – no sensitive information is sent to Netcraft.
If you already have the Netcraft Extension installed, your browser will update it automatically.
More than two thousand sites using Extended Validation certificates stopped working this weekend and remain inaccessible today (Monday), including those run by banks, governments, and online shops. The EV certificates used by these sites were revoked on Saturday, and have yet to be replaced. Most visitors using modern web browsers are completely locked out: this certificate error cannot be bypassed in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Microsoft Edge.
Last week, DigiCert disclosed a reporting discrepancy in its audit for EV certificates. As part of its response, DigiCert committed to revoking the certificates, which it intends to complete over the coming weeks. Only a subset of DigiCert’s EV certificates are affected: in the July SSL Server Survey, Netcraft found 17,200 EV certificates in active use on port 443 that are due to be revoked.
The first batch of revocations happened this weekend. While most of the certificates revoked on Saturday 11th July have been correctly replaced and reinstalled, many have not.
On Monday morning, Netcraft found 3,800 sites still using EV certificates issued by the affected sub-CAs. Of these 3,800, more than 2,300 were still using a revoked EV certificate, completely disabling the sites for users in modern browsers, which handle EV revocation more robustly than other types of certificate. The remainder are yet to be revoked.
Wirecard, the beleaguered German payment processor, briefly had its main site, www.wirecard.com, displaying a certificate warning early on Monday, but the certificate has since been replaced with a working non-EV certificate. There are still a number of Wirecard domains with revoked certificate warnings.
Posted by Robert Duncan in Security
The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure of many pubs, restaurants, and brick-and-mortar retail stores. Many purchases that would previously have been made in person now take place online. In research commissioned by Visa, 89% of Britons have shopped online since the UK’s lockdown restrictions began, with 31% buying items online for the first time during this period. This increase in online shopping activity benefits criminal groups in that: smaller businesses newly reliant on online transactions provide attackers with a stream of inadequately-defended shopping sites to exploit, and buyers are far more likely to be driven to these compromised shops or to fake shops compared to before the pandemic.
Fake shops are another threat. Shoppers seeking bargains may unknowingly find themselves on a fake shop which claims to offers the products they want at a highly discounted price, but the victim will subsequently only receive counterfeit goods, no goods at all, or have the transaction aborted after entering credentials which is equivalent to a phishing attack.
Online shopping has surged since lockdown started in March. Many of us, looking to be healthier, have headed online for sports equipment and a number of sportswear retailers have reported booming online sales. John Lewis recorded a 72% increase in total sports shoe sales, while Adidas and Puma have both seen an increase in ecommerce revenue.
Shoppers browsing online for the best deals, however, need to take care, as many people would be surprised at the scale of fake shops. Each day we find new fake shops designed to entice shoppers away from bona fide outlets, as many brands have yet to find effective countermeasures.
Counterfeit shoes, clothing and other accessories are estimated to lose the industry more than €26 billion each year in the EU alone, while the loss due to all online counterfeiting is estimated at $323 billion a year. The OECD estimated that over 3% of all imports worldwide are counterfeit.
Traditionally fake shops claim to sell luxury consumer goods at highly discounted prices. We have seen fake shops using at least three different models:
- Payment is accepted, but no goods are delivered.
- At the end of the checkout process, an error message is displayed such as “Out of Stock” and no transaction occurs. This is equivalent to a phishing attack, as the fake shop has the consumer’s credentials.
- Payment is accepted, and goods are delivered. The quality of goods varies between junk and identical to the bona fide item.
Trainers are the most counterfeited goods
We currently block around 75,000 fake shops in our extension and apps. Of these, roughly half target a specific brand, such as Nike or Adidas. About 70% of the fake shops selling branded goods sell shoes, predominantly trainers.
Corroborating this, European customs authorities handle more cases of counterfeit sports shoes than any other type of product.
Governments and organisations globally have been making announcements that just a few weeks prior would have been unprecedented. As more of our lives are moving online in an attempt to adapt to changes brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, many are trying out services they were previously unfamiliar with, such as video conferencing or online grocery shopping. While others are finding themselves with more time to pursue online hobbies such as gaming.
The combined effect of information overload and a mass of people using unfamiliar software and services has created an environment ripe for exploitation by cybercriminals.
Netcraft has tracked Coronavirus-themed cybercrime since 16th March, shortly after it was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. While Netcraft continues to see high volumes of Coronavirus-inspired fake shops, advance fee fraud, phishing and malware lures, this post covers some of the trends Netcraft has observed since our previous posts on the topic.
Recently observed Coronavirus-themed threats
Fake Government information sites and mobile malware
Many governments have set up dedicated websites offering advice and services to support their citizens through the pandemic. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this by providing copy-cat sites with a malicious twist.
In one recent campaign, the cybercriminals deployed a site that poses as the UK Government and offers “credit card refunds” for “COVID-19 support”. The fraudulent site uses UK Government branding and collects the victim’s personal information – including their credit card number, date of birth and telephone number.
Netcraft has added protection from Coronavirus-related cybercrime to its mobile apps for Android and iOS, and to its browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Websites containing these attacks will be blocked for those who have the app or extension installed. The iOS app — currently available in the UK and Canada — blocks Coronavirus-themed attacks impersonating Canadian and UK businesses as well as providing global coverage of fake shops purporting to sell Coronavirus-related goods.
Since 16 March Netcraft has been monitoring and disrupting Coronavirus-themed cybercrime, which accounts for five percent of the attacks we perform countermeasures against and is becoming more prevalent on the internet.
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