Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-632: Homograph Attack via Homoglyphs (Version 3.0)  

CAPEC-632: Homograph Attack via Homoglyphs

Attack Pattern ID: 632
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary registers a domain name containing a homoglyph, leading the registered domain to appear the same as a trusted domain. A homograph attack leverages the fact that different characters among various character sets look the same to the user. Homograph attacks must generally be combined with other attacks, such as phishing attacks, in order to direct Internet traffic to the adversary-controlled destinations.
+ Alternate Terms

Term: Homoglyph Attack

+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity


+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
ChildOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.616Establish Rogue Location
+ Execution Flow
  1. Determine target website: The adversary first determines which website to impersonate, generally one that is trusted and receives a consistent amount of traffic. Research popular or high traffic websites.

    Research popular or high traffic websites.
  1. Impersonate trusted domain: In order to impersonate the trusted domain, the adversary needs to register the URL containing the homoglpyh character(s). Register the Homograph domain.

    Register the Homograph domain.
  1. Deceive user into visiting domain: Finally, the adversary needs to deceive a user into visiting the Homograph domain. Execute a phishing attack and send a user an e-mail convincing the to click on a link leading the user to the malicious domain.

    Execute a phishing attack and send a user an e-mail convincing the to click on a link leading the user to the malicious domain.
+ Prerequisites
An adversary requires knowledge of popular or high traffic domains, that could be used to deceive potential targets.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Low]
Adversaries must be able to register DNS hostnames/URL’s.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

+ Mitigations
Authenticate all servers and perform redundant checks when using DNS hostnames.
Utilize browsers that can warn users if URLs contain characters from different character sets.
+ Example Instances

An adversary sends an email, impersonating bankofamerica.com to a user stating that they have just received a new deposit and to click the given link to confirm the deposit.

However, the link the in email is bankofamerica.com, where the 'a' and 'e' characters are Cyrillic and not ASCII, instead of bankofamerica.com (all ASCII), which the user clicks after carefully reading the URL, making sure that typosquatting and soundsquatting attacks are not being leveraged against them.

The user is directed to the adversary's website, which appears as if it is the legitimate bankofamerica.com login page.

The user thinks they are logging into their account, but have actually just given their bankofamerica.com credentials to the adversary. The adversary can now use the user's legitimate bankofamerica.com credentials to log into the user's account and steal any money which may be in the account.

Homograph vulnerability allows an adversary to impersonate a trusted domain by leveraging homoglyphs and tricking a user into visiting the malicious website to steal user credentials.

See also: CVE-2012-0584 CVE-2009-0652 CVE-2005-0233 CVE-2005-0234 CVE-2005-0235 CVE-2005-0236 CVE-2005-0237 CVE-2005-0238
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2015-11-09CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2018-07-31CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Attack_Phases

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018