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Cloning Attack Complete Guide 2022

What is a cloning attack?

Social networks (SN) are growing in popularity these days. People use them to communicate and stay in touch with their friends and family members over the internet. Personal information can be shared over these sights such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. Cloning attacks usually happen on Facebook and are one of the most dangerous ones. Here third party intervention is common and hackers steal images and personal information of people on the internet. The attackers then use it to create fake profiles of these people. Once the cloned profile is formed, the attackers start sending friend requests. They reach out to different people or even the contacts that were added in the previously hacked account. In order to prevent the user account from being blocked, the hackers even send requests to the original user’s friends. Hence it becomes very difficult to differentiate between the real and the fake user profile. 

People who added the attacker allowed a stranger access to all their pictures and personal data. The clone attack is then detected depending on the user’s action time period and their click pattern. This helps in finding any similarity between the cloned profile and a fake one on Facebook. The Cosine similarity and the Jaccard Index are two important tools that help in improving the performance between the users.

The Online Social Networks (OSNs) are happily enjoying the popularity they have these days even amidst the malicious attacks on them and their users. The cloning attack uses a particular attack pattern for the social networks where the attackers disguise fake profiles as real users. They then steal and copy the information of the cloned victim and send friend requests to their friends. Furthermore, it gets tough when the other users are unable to identify between the real and the fake persona. 

How to prevent a cloning attack?

Website cloning is also one of these attacks that scammers use to get hold of your information or money. It becomes more dangerous because both the fake and real account have the same names and images. There are also other improvements to the regular attack pattern such as the snowball sampling or the iteration. This upgrade is helpful for the attackers to easily fit into that community. Renren, which is the largest OSN in China, conducted an experiment.

They will check the effectiveness and the strategy of traditional attacks. This also includes different levels of cloning attacks. There are also approaches to detect the cloning attack and simultaneously install a detector called ClonSpotter. This is deployed into the OSN servers. The detector takes advantage of the detailed login IP records. It even provides solid evidence of locations for you to judge whether the suspicious accounts are being handled by fake or real users. 

There is a content-based approach that protects users from cloning attack. This is implemented into distributed clients. There are two aspects in which this contribution lies. Firstly, a threatening attack pattern towards the OSN is improved. Then its effectiveness is tested in the real system. Secondly, an effective defense system is provided to detect the cloning attacks. The benefit is that it is real-time and lightweight.

You can deploy the detectors and the OSN systems will help you in distinguishing cloning accounts to keep their privacy intact. If your business website gets cloned, your data gets stolen and your credibility and customers are lost. The technique is very skillful such as the cyber criminal will first create a clone site of the original one. Any site can be copied but attackers especially prefer retail shopping or travel booking sites and banks. The clone site can look exactly like the original one.

How does a cloning attack happen?

The two sites are so similar that the only variation between them is the URL or web address. There is an evident example of this such as the scam that targeted older Australians and their online payments. This is the MyGov site whose URL for the clone site was mygovau.net. The real site is my.gov.au and the differences were barely noticeable. They can be missed by anyone who is not looking attentively. First the criminal creates a trap to get unsuspecting victims to visit the clone site. This can be through the links shared by emails, SMS or other social media posts. Targets will click on the link to enter the clone site. The recipients now feel the urge to click on the link and visit these fraudulent sites. To seem convincing the email is directed from the IRS and demands the recipient to pay pending taxes. 

This is to avoid any fine or business shutdown by clicking on a link. It may also be an SMS message about a limited time offer, discount or sale on iPhones. Oftentimes the attackers even disguise themselves as your bank and worry you with alarming news that your account is being hacked. The message then directs you to mention your credentials by logging into the banking portal. However, the banking portal they connect you to is a clone which will steal your personal information.

The aim of attackers is manifold such as getting hold of your credit card, banking or even login information. This can also lead to outright theft when the attacker redirects your payment of goods or services on the criminal’s account. They can benefit from the bogus “administrative” or “booking” fees. Nevertheless, this does not entirely mean that all booking notifications indicate scam even if it appears to be so. 

What to do if your website is cloned?

Amongst website cloning, businesses are considered the least likely to be attacked. This is why owners are usually shocked when they see their small credit unions being cloned rather than big banks. You may not even be aware of your website being hacked until unhappy or annoyed customers start complaining. Cloning is not always for criminal purposes as hackers may even steal result rankings from you, harming your business. The first and foremost step that you need to take is to get in contact with your website developer and SEO partner.

They will check your website codes for tags and tell the search engines that your content belongs to you. They can also check who owns the site and contact the clone owner. The imposter will be asked to leave your site and stop using your materials. Furthermore, to take more control they will help you report a cloned or scraper site to Google’s DMCA division. 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) causes the distribution of technology, services and other devices. This even helps avoid measures that control the access to copyrighted works. You can identify a cloned website quite easily although it may be tricky. However, this cannot be ignored personally or even as a business owner. Use and share the information and remain very aware of who has access to your information.

Website cloning traps can be easily identified because the ads seem too good to be true. These are probably scams and you should see the deals at a fact-checking website to avoid being tricked. Also if the message sounds genuine like an email from your banks asking you to log in your banking credentials. You should still make sure that the email header has the sender’s email address that matches with your bank’s. Before clicking on any link see where it is pointing towards. 

Precautionary Measures

When you are on a real banking or shopping site where payments are made and other details are shared. Make sure these are secure such as the HTTPS websites. There must be a padlock symbol which shows a URL in the address bar. All of these features are getting immensely easier to copy so the best take you have is to use your own favorite or bookmarked link. This is very safe so you can open the browser on your own and direct it to the company’s website. However, you need to be very vigilant not to click on any suspicious links that you find. The wireless ad hoc networks and the mobile ad hoc networks (MANETS) are not secured by tamper-resistant or high storage capacity hardware. This is due to their low cost and smaller size. They are highly vulnerable to data attacks, intrusion, node compromise etc. 

The harsh environments in which these devices work causes them to lose their data and there is lesser data available. If these devices get in the hands of an attacker, they can easily be controlled and cloned. The cloned devices will be the exact copies of the real devices. This is why they will connect with other surrounding devices and compromise them. There are two important mechanisms that can be used. First is the novel clone attack detection scheme in which you can log in log out detection (LLD). Also there is the system-wide announcement detection (SWAD). For the second step use combinatorial replication and partition (CORP) of data. This is a pairwise balanced design property of combinatorial style. 

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