First of all, let me tell you one thing. This article is written only for educating people about how phishing works and how should they prevent phishing scams. Please don’t use these techniques for malicious purposes.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a most popular technique used for hacking passwords and stealing sensitive information like credit cards, banking username & passwords etc. Phishing aka fishing attack is a process of creating a duplicate copy or a clone of a reputed website in the intention of stealing user’s password or other sensitive information like credit card details. It is easy for anyone who is having little technical knowledge to get a phishing page done and that is why this method is so popular.
Phishing scams prompts users to enter sensitive details at a fake webpage (phishing page) whose look and feel are very identical to legitmate webpages. In most cases, the only difference is URL. URL can also be spoofed in some cases if the legitmate website is vulnerable.
It is difficult for a commoner to identify the phishing scams page because of its trustworthy layout.
How phishing works?
Hackers / Attackers target general public and send them phishing links through email or personal message where the victim is prompted to click on a link in the email. The user / victim will get navigated to a Phishing page that pretends to be legit. Common people who don’t find that phishing page suspicious are induced to enter their sensitive information and all the information would get sent to the hacker / attacker.
Lets take Facebook as an example, Creating a page which perfectly looks like Facebook login page but putting it in a different URL like fakebook.com or faecbook.com or any URL which pretends to be legit. When a user lands on such page, he/she might think that is real Facebook login page and asking them to provide their username and password. So the people who don’t find the fake login page suspicious might enter their username, password and the password information would be sent to the hacker/attacker who created it, simultaneously the victim would get redirected to original Facebook page.
Real Life Example : John is a programmer, he creates a Facebook login page with some scripts to enable him to get the username and password information and put it in https://www.facebouk.com/make-money-online-tricks. Peter is a friend of John. John sends a message to Peter “Hey Peter, I found a way to make money online easily you should definitely take a look at this https://www.facebouk.com/make-money-online-tricks”. Peter navigate to the link and see a Facebook login page. As usual Peter enters his username and password of Facebook. Now the username and password of Peter is sent to John and Peter get redirected to a money making tips page https://www.facebouk.com/make-money-online-tricks-tips.html. That’s all Peter’s Facebook account is hacked.
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How to create a Phishing page in minutes?
We are going to take Facebook phishing page as an example.
- Go to Facebook.com, make sure you are not logged in to Facebook.
- Press Ctrl + U to view source code.
- Copy the source code and paste it in a notepad.
- Find the action attribute of the login form in the code. Search for keyword “action” without quotes by pressing Ctrl + F in notepad. In Facebook login page, action attribute was filled with Facebook login process url, replace it with process.php
- You have to find name of input fields using inspect element (Ctrl + Shft + I in Chrome), in our case it is email and pass
- Save this file as index.html
- Now you have to get username and password stored in a text file named phishing.txt
- Create a file named process.php using the following code.
if(isset($_POST[’email’]) && isset($_POST[‘pass’]))
$phishing = fopen(“phishing.txt”,”w”);
fwrite($phishing,$password.”Email : “.$_POST[’email’].” , Password”.$_POST[‘pass’].”\n”);
How to host phishing page in a URL?
To put phishing page in a URL, you need to have two things.
- Web Hosting
Get a Free Domain
You can create a free domain at Bluehost if you pay for their hosting plans. Once you create a domain, you need to get hosting and setup name servers for it. If you select bluehost you don’t need to setup name servers since it will already be set.
Get Web Hosting
Almost all free hosting panels would block phishing pages. So you need to get any paid shared hosting package, it would cost around $4 USD per month. I prefer bluehost for their excellent service and performance. Get bluehost shared hosting and free domain now.
Once you setup domain and hosting, you can upload the files using FTP software. That’s all you can test it now.
How could you protect yourself from phishing scams?
Hackers can reach you in many ways like email, personal messages, Facebook messages, Website ads etc. Clicking any links from these messages would lead you to a login page. Whenever you find a email that navigates you to a webpage, you should note only one thing which is URL because nobody can spoof URL except when there is any XSS zero day vulnerability.
What is the URL you see in browser address bar? Is that really https://www.LEGITWEBSITE.com? Is there any Green colour secure symbol (HTTPS) provided in the address bar? You can prevent hacking by remembering these questions. Also see the below examples of Facebook phishing pages.
Perfect Phishing Pages
Most of the people won’t suspect this page (snapshot given above) since there is https prefix with green colour secure icon and no mistake in www.facebook.com. But this is a phishing page how? Note the URL correctly. It is https://www.facebook.com.infoknown.com so www.facebook.com is a subdomain of infoknown.com. Google Chrome don’t differentiate the sub-domain and domain unlike Firefox do. SSL Certificates (HTTPS) can be obtained from many vendors, few vendors give SSL Certificate for Free for 1 year. Its not a big deal for a novice to create a perfect phishing page like this. So be aware of it.
This is a normal Facebook Phishing page with some modification in the word Facebook.
Phishing scams are attempts by scammers / hackers / cybercriminals to trick you to enter your sensitive infomation like internet banking username & passwords, credit card details etc. As described above, phishing scams focuses on retrieving monetary details indirectly.
Most of the time phishing scams happens through email. Hackers spoof the email address of any legitmate website or authority to send phishing scam email, so the users are convinced to believe that the email is sent from a legit website. Email address can be easily spoofed using email headers. Server scripting languages like php helps a commoner to spoof from email address easily. Popuplar email services like gmail are smart enough to identify phishing email and route it to spam folder. But still there are some ways for a hacker to send phishing emails.