Secure Computing warns of new VoIP based phishing scam

Published August 3rd, 2006 - 11:45 GMT

Secure Computing Corporation (NASDAQ: SCUR), the experts in securing connections between people, applications and networks, has warned that familiar phishing attacks have now evolved into phone scams. Secure Computing engineers have been tracking news group sites and open disclosure discussion groups that have been buzzing with talk about a new technique called “vishing.” This new method exploits the low cost of VoIP and combines it with the social engineering aspects of phishing to extract financial information from unsuspecting credit card and banking customers.

The scam is a telephone based version of phishing, hence the name vishing.  This new technique enables cyber criminals to harvest details of the 3 digit CVV (Card Verification Value) security code, expiry date and other essential ID information in addition to the customer’s card and account numbers.  The visher can use a stolen identity to set up a digital voice-response system through an Internet phone company. It is also possible that the phone number listed in the vish is routing calls to another number which could be anywhere in the world.

“Although vishing is not yet a problem in the Middle East because of the restricted use of VoIP, consumers need to be made aware of this new threat as it hits the UK,” said Sami Mulla, Director, Middle East, Secure Computing. “Like most other social engineering exploits, vishing relies upon the ‘hacking’ of a common procedure that fits within the victim’s comfort zone. Specifically, this methodology takes advantage of what has become a normal practice for credit card users in many countries. It is a normal procedure when calling a credit card provider to be asked to enter your 16-digit credit card number before given the opportunity to speak to a credit card representative. Consumers need to be extra vigilant when giving out their information on the phone.”

Vishing scams often follow a familiar process. The cyber criminal configures a war dialler (sequentially dials regional phone numbers) to call phone numbers in a given region. When the phone is answered, an automated recording is played to alert the consumer that their credit card has had fraudulent activity and the consumer should call the following phone number immediately (xxx) xxx-xxxx. The phone number could be an 800 number or a regional telephone number often with a spoofed caller ID for the financial company they are pretending to represent.

When the consumer calls the number, it is answered by a typical computer generated voice that tells the consumer they have reached account verification and instructs the consumer to enter their 16-digit credit card number on the key pad. Once the consumer enters their credit card number, the visher has all of the information necessary to place fraudulent charges on the consumer’s card. The call can then be used to harvest additional details such as security PIN, expiry date, date of birth and bank account number.

“Anyone who is called by a bank should take the appropriate steps to protect their personal information and their bank account,” said Mulla.

About Secure Computing:
Secure Computing (NASDAQ:SCUR) has been securing the connections between people and information for over 20 years. Specializing in delivering the world’s strongest security appliances/firewalls, identity and access management solutions, content management and filtering solutions, Secure Computing is uniquely qualified to be the global security solutions provider to organizations of all sizes. Our more than 17,000 global customers, supported by a worldwide network of partners, include the majority of the Dow Jones Global 50 Titans and the most prominent organizations in banking, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, public utilities, education and national and local governments. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., and has offices worldwide. For more information, see

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