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Secure Internet Programming
Princeton University
Department of Computer Science

Web Spoofing: An Internet Con Game

Edward W. Felten
Dirk Balfanz
Drew Dean
Dan S. Wallach

This paper describes an Internet security attack that could endanger the privacy of World Wide Web users and the integrity of their data. The attack can be carried out on today's systems, endangering users of the most common Web browsers, including Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Web spoofing allows an attacker to create a "shadow copy" of the entire World Wide Web. Accesses to the shadow Web are funneled through the attacker's machine, allowing the attacker to monitor all of the victim's activities including any passwords or account numbers the victim enters. The attacker can also cause false or misleading data to be sent to Web servers in the victim's name, or to the victim in the name of any Web server. In short, the attacker observes and controls everything the victim does on the Web. We have implemented a demonstration version of this attack.

20th National Information Systems Security Conference (Baltimore, Maryland), October, 1997.

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See Also
Web Spoofing: An Internet Con Game. Edward W. Felten, Dirk Balfanz, Drew Dean, and Dan S. Wallach, Technical Report 540-96, Department of Computer Science, Princeton University, revised February 1997 (Original version: December 1996).

This report is written for a general audience.