Subject: [IP] Clueless about phishing
Title: Clueless about phishing
------ Forwarded Message
From: Bob Frankston <rmfxixB0406@bobf.frankston.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 17:27:27 -0500
To: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
Subject: Clueless about phishing
I just got another suspicious letter – not very – it does seem legit but why does Verizon assume that I will trust jangomail.com?
I’m wary about email messages these days that have a phishing risk. For safety I try to figure out if the message is, at least, from the claimed source. I would expect corporations such as eBay and Verizon to share my concern.
My mail handler does simple reality checks on incoming mail. URL’s with %’s are suspicious though they are sometimes legitimate and I want to make sure that the mail comes from the claimed source. To do that I rely on the site name and reverse DNS lookup.
For normal email this overly harsh and should not be a blanket policy. It is also far from perfect. But for phishable sites I expect them to give me some reason to treat their message as authentic.
eBay fails reverse DNS lookup – its DNS names are bound to internal 10.x addresses.
And Verizon sent me that promotional message from Jangomail.com. I can understand using a third party mailer but it should be from jangomail.verizon.com not jangomail.com.
Making the DNS more critical is not a solution – we need third party vouching services rather than hardening a single centralized system. Trust is a social decision not a technical issue. It cannot be solved by appealing to the God Procrustes.
Cryptographic vouching is just a mechanism and part of a large scale approach I’m working on.
In the meantime, the DNS is what we have and those who want our trust must understand how to use it.
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