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City Link and Gathering Data for Spear Phishing

I have just been sent an email giving me a tracking number for a City Link parcel due to be delivered. On checking this on their website, I found that I only need the tracking number to track the parcel and no other information. Is this a problem?

Well, I think it is. Via my tracking number I am able to find the company name of the sender and my postcode. Now, postcodes normally only relate to around a dozen properties at most. However, that's not the end of the story. By entering different numbers (based on the one that I received) I was able to get the details of other parcels being sent around. Incidentally, their format is AAAddddd - representing three uppercase letters followed by sequential numbering.

Does this matter? Well, by going backwards through the sequential numbering system I was able to find a parcel that had just been delivered (at 13.50 to be precise) to a postcode in West Yorkshire - BD22 (I have omitted the last part of the postcode here). Helpfully, they include the surname of the person that signed for the parcel. Then it was a simple matter of doing a quick search on the properties to find someone with the correct surname. I found Denise and Jonathan X living at that address for a number of years and was able to find additional information, such as the fact that Jonathan worked for a local University. Crucially, I was able to find email addresses for them. It would now be very simple for me to launch a phishing attack on them as I have real details with which to trick them. There is simply a privacy issue here as well. Do you want anyone and everyone knowing what deliveries you receive and from which organisations? This could make a very good profile.

How hard would it be for City Link to require some additional information before giving out the detail? A simple solution would be to ask for the correct postcode in addition to the tracking number, then it would be much harder for someone to extract the details. They have included a captcha that kicks in after a few attempts, but this doesn't work, and simply entering anything in the field over the minimum required length and containing a space will be accepted. Also, cycling through IP addresses or performing the requests slowly will bypass this requirement. Anyway, I'm off to write a script to extract the details for the postcodes of City Link employees, MPs and newspaper reporters to see where they shop...

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