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Cryptography & Online Bankcard Transactions

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CRYPTOGRAPHY & ONLINE BANKCARD TRANSACTIONS

Keller Graduate School of Management
SE577ON_A – Cryptography and Security Mechanisms NOV10
Alicia Franklin

Cryptography for an Extranet Table of Contents I. Online Banking Overview ………………………………………………3 II. Security Threats to Businesses…………………………………………..3 III. Cross Site Attacks ………...…………………………………………….4 IV. Mitigating Cross Site Attacks ………………………………………….5 V. Phishing ………………………………………………………………….6 VI. Cryptography .…………………………………………………………..6 VII. Secret Key Cryptography .………………………………………………7 VIII. Public Key Cryptography.………………………………………………7 IX. Hash Functions ……..…………………………………………………...7 X. Biometrics …………………………...…………………………………...8 XI. Summary ………………………………………………………………8 XII. References ……………………………………………………………….9

I. Online Banking Overview
The number of malicious applications targeting online banking transactions has increased dramatically in recent years. This represents a challenge not only to the customers who use such facilities, but also to the institutions who offer them, as evidenced by an ongoing trail in the US. These malicious applications employ two kinds of attack vector – local attacks which occur on the local computer, and remote attacks, which redirect the victim to a remote site. The possibility also exists that both approaches will be combined. Some attacks may be foiled by adopting security measures such as transaction numbers (TAN). However, it is likely that the risks associated with online banking transactions will remain until new transaction methods, such as PKI based methods (public key infrastructure), are widely introduced.
II. Security Threats to Businesses
The attack vectors used by this kind of malicious application can be categorized in two groups: local and remote attacks. Local attacks happen on the local computer during an online banking session. Remote attacks do not execute code on the local computer, but redirect the victim to a remote site.
A common mistake made by end users is believing that their online banking session is perfectly safe when they use an SSL connection. Security experts continually state that everything is safe if there is a yellow padlock symbol in the browser window. But SSL is designed as a secure tunnel from the end user computer to the bank mainframe and does not protect the end points such as the end user’s computer.
Other local attack methods include running a layered service provider (LSP) monitoring all network traffic, writing its own network driver, or displaying a carefully crafted copy of a website on top of the official website.
Remote attacks do not execute code on the local computer, but redirect the victim to a remote site. Usually, the attacker sets up a copy of the web page he wants to impersonate on a server he controls. In the past attackers often linked directly to the original images on the legitimate web server, which left easy-to-follow traces in the webmaster’s log files. Nowadays, attackers tend to keep resources locally. Once the bait server has been set up, the attacker sends out emails that trick the user into visiting the spoofed website. These emails often prompt the user to visit the online service in order to provide some urgent data verification, or indicate that the user is required to visit the website because of some update process in the main database of the service provider. This form of social engineering attack, with the goal of acquiring user account information, is also known as phishing.
III. Cross Site Attack
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications that enables malicious attackers to inject client-side script into web pages viewed by other users. An exploited cross-site scripting vulnerability can be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same origin policy. Cross-site scripting carried out on websites were roughly 80% of all security vulnerabilities documented by Symantec as of 2007. Their impact may range from a petty nuisance to a significant security risk, depending on the sensitivity of the data handled by the vulnerable site, and the nature of any security mitigations implemented by the site's owner.

IV. Mitigating Cross Site Attacks
The primary defense mechanism to stop XSS is contextual output encoding/escaping. There are several different escaping schemes that must be used depending on where the untrusted string needs to be placed within an HTML document including HTML entity encoding, JavaScript escaping, CSS escaping, and URL (or percent) encoding(Williams 2009).. Most web applications that do not need to accept rich data can use escaping to largely eliminate the risk of XSS in a fairly straightforward manner.
Many operators of particular web applications (e.g. forums and webmail) wish to allow users to utilize some of the features HTML provides, such as a limited subset of HTML markup. When accepting HTML input from users, output encoding will not suffice since the user input needs to be rendered as HTML by the browser. Stopping XSS when accepting HTML input from users is much more complex in this situation. Untrusted HTML input must be run through an HTML policy engine to ensure that is does not contain XSS.
Besides content filtering, other imperfect methods for cross-site scripting mitigation are also commonly used. One example is the use of additional security controls when handling cookie-based user authentication. Many web applications rely on session cookies for authentication between individual HTTP requests, and because client-side scripts generally have access to these cookies, simple XSS exploits can steal these cookies.
Some web applications are written to (sometimes optionally) operate completely without the need for client-side scripts. This allows users, if they choose, to disable scripting in their browsers before using the application. In this way, even potentially malicious client-side scripts could be inserted unescaped on a page, and users would not be susceptible to XSS attacks.
Some browsers or browser plugins can be configured to disable client-side scripts on a per-domain basis. If scripting is allowed by default, then this approach is of limited value, since it blocks bad sites only after the user knows that they are bad, which is too late. Functionality that blocks all scripting and external inclusions by default and then allows the user to enable it on a per-domain basis is more effective. V. Phishing In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. VI. Cryptography
Cryptography is the science of writing in secret code and is an ancient art; the first documented use of cryptography in writing dates back to circa 1900 B.C. when an Egyptian scribe used non-standard hieroglyphs in an inscription. Some experts argue that cryptography appeared spontaneously sometime after writing was invented, with applications ranging from diplomatic missives to war-time battle plans. It is no surprise, then, that new forms of cryptography came soon after the widespread development of computer communications. In data and telecommunications, cryptography is necessary when communicating over any untrusted medium, which includes just about any network, particularly the Internet.

VII. Secret Key Cryptography
With secret key cryptography, a single key is used for both encryption and decryption. The sender uses the key (or some set of rules) to encrypt the plaintext and sends the ciphertext to the receiver. The receiver applies the same key (or ruleset) to decrypt the message and recover the plaintext. Because a single key is used for both functions, secret key cryptography is also called symmetric encryption. VIII. Public Key Cryptography
Public-key cryptography has been said to be the most significant new development in cryptography in the last 300-400 years. Modern PKC was first described publicly by Stanford University professor Martin Hellman and graduate student Whitfield Diffie in 1976. Their paper described a two-key crypto system in which two parties could engage in a secure communication over a non-secure communications channel without having to share a secret key. IX. Hash Functions
Hash functions, also called message digests and one-way encryption, are algorithms that, in some sense, use no key. Instead, a fixed-length hash value is computed based upon the plaintext that makes it impossible for either the contents or length of the plaintext to be recovered. Hash algorithms are typically used to provide a digital fingerprint of a file's contents, often used to ensure that the file has not been altered by an intruder or virus. Hash functions are also commonly employed by many operating systems to encrypt passwords. Hash functions, then, provide a measure of the integrity of a file. X. Biometrics
Biometrics comprises methods for uniquely recognizing humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. In computer science, in particular, biometrics is used as a form of identity access management and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance.
Biometric characteristics can be divided in two main classes: * Physiological are related to the shape of the body. Examples include, but are not limited to fingerprint, face recognition, DNA, Palm print, hand geometry, iris recognition, which has largely replaced retina, and odor/scent. * Behavioral are related to the behavior of a person. Examples include, but are not limited to typing rhythm, gait, and voice. Some researchers have coined the term behaviometrics for this class of biometrics. XI. Summary These examples show that the biggest threat to online banking is still malicious code executed carelessly on the end-user’s computer. The attackers tend to target the weakest link. Once the attacker has control over a user’s computer, he or she can modify the information flow to his or her advantage. So, whenever using an online financial system today, ensure that your system is still under your control and not a spoofed puppet.

XII. References
"Symantec Internet Security Threat Report: Trends for July-December 2007 (Executive Summary)" (PDF). Symantec Corp.. April 2008. pp. 1–3. http://eval.symantec.com/mktginfo/enterprise/white_papers/b whitepaper_exec_summary_internet_security_threat_report_xiii_04-2008.en-us.pdf.
Retrieved December 12, 2010.

Williams,Jeff (January 19, 2009). "XSS (Cross SIte Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet". OWASP. http://www.owasp.org/index.php/XSS_%28Cross_Site_Scripting%29_Prevention_Cheat_Sheet. Retrieved December 12, 2010.

"A page should work, even if in a degraded form, without JavaScript." in Zammetti, Frank (April 16, 2007). Practical JavaScript, DOM Scripting and Ajax Projects via Amazon Reader. Apress. p. 36. ISBN 1590598164. http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1590598164/. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
An Overview of Cryptography. ,Gary C. Kessler (9 November 2010) http://www.cilab.upf.edu/biosecure1/public_docs_deli/BioSecure_Deliverable_D10-2-3_b3.pdf

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