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Why Minimizing Human Error is the Only Viable Defense Against Spear Phishing

Why Minimizing Human Error is the Only Viable Defense Against Spear Phishing

February 25, 2020The Hacker News
Phishing attacks have become one of the business world's top cybersecurity concerns. These social engineering attacks have been rising over the years, with the most recent report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group coalition identifying over 266,000 active spoofed websites, which is nearly double the number detected during Q4 2018. Hackers have evolved their methods, from regular phishing attacks to spear phishing, where they use email messages disguised as coming from legitimate sources to dupe specific individuals. This is why the global spear phishing protection software market is estimated to reach $1.8 billion by 2025. However, conventional defenses can still fall short due to one particular weakness in the security perimeter – the human factor. Indeed, some 33 percent of 2019's data breaches involved humans falling victim to social engineering attacks. And given how sophisticated and creative the phishing perpetrators have been getting, it's easy to see h
'Spear phishing' latest ploy to steal data !

'Spear phishing' latest ploy to steal data !

January 07, 2011Mohit Kumar
Consumers wary about protecting data stored on their computers should get used to hearing the term "spear phishing." It's the latest and most ingenious method yet to deliver malicious software that gives criminals control of a person's computer, with a tactic that involves developing emails which are personalized, contain nuggets of information familiar to the target, and appear to come from a trusted source. Spear phishing went mainstream over the holiday season when dozens of government employees in the U.S. and other nations were lured into downloading a malicious program. "[It was] essentially a malware-laced email that made it look like a season's greetings from the White House," security blogger Brian Krebs told CBC News. "[The email] invites the folks to download an e-card, essentially a zipped-up executable file that if you run lets the bad guys take control of your system remotely." Krebs, who wrote about the story on his websit
Warning: Beware of Post-Election Phishing Emails Targeting NGOs and Think Tanks

Warning: Beware of Post-Election Phishing Emails Targeting NGOs and Think Tanks

November 11, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Just a few hours after Donald Trump won the 2016 US Presidential Election, a hacking group launched a wave of cyber attacks targeting U.S.-based policy think-tanks with a new spear phishing campaign designed to fool victims into installing malware. The group of nation-state hackers, also known as Cozy Bear , APT29 , and CozyDuke , is the one of those involved in the recent data breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and is allegedly tied to the Russian government. On Wednesday, the hackers sent a series of phishing emails to dozens of targets associated with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), policy think tanks in the US and even inside the US government, said security firm Volexity. Phishing Attacks Powered by 'PowerDuke' Malware The phishing emails were sent from purpose-built Gmail accounts and other compromised email accounts at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), trying to trick victims into opening tainted attachments
Phishing Your Employees: Clever way to Promote Cyber Awareness

Phishing Your Employees: Clever way to Promote Cyber Awareness

July 20, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Employees are the weakest link when it comes to enterprise security, and unfortunately hackers realized this years ago. All an attacker needs to use some social engineering tactics against employees of companies and organizations they want to target. A massive 91% of successful data breaches at companies started with a social engineering and spear-phishing attack. A phishing attack usually involves an e-mail that manipulates a victim to click on a malicious link that could then expose the victim's computer to a malicious payload. So what is the missing link to manage the problem of employees being Social engineered? The answer is very simple – Educate your Employees and reinforce good security procedures at the same time. Phish your Employees! Yes, you heard me right… by this I mean that you should run a mock phishing campaign in your organization and find out which employees would easily fall victim to the phishing emails. Then step everyone through Internet
Yahoo! Hack! How It Took Just One-Click to Execute Biggest Data Breach in History

Yahoo! Hack! How It Took Just One-Click to Execute Biggest Data Breach in History

March 16, 2017Swati Khandelwal
In the digital world, it just takes one click to get the keys to the kingdom. Do you know spear-phishing was the only secret weapon behind the biggest data breach in the history? It's true, as one of the Yahoo employees fell victim to a simple phishing attack and clicked one wrong link that let the hackers gain a foothold in the company's internal networks. You may be familiar with phishing attacks — an attempt to steal user credentials or financial data — while, Spear-phishing is a targeted form of phishing in which attackers trick employees or vendors into providing remote-access credentials or opening a malicious attachment containing an exploit or payload. Here's how the Yahoo's massive data breach was traced back to human error and who were the alleged masterminds behind this hack. On Wednesday, the US government charged two Russian spies (Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin) and two criminal hackers (Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov) in connection with the 20
Cyber Criminals phishing with smart subdomains to earn millions

Cyber Criminals phishing with smart subdomains to earn millions

December 06, 2012Mohit Kumar
Like many other security issues that now affect computer users, there is a growing threat known as phishing". Phishing attacks are perpetrated by criminals who send deceptive emails in order to lure someone into visiting a fraudulent web site or downloading malicious software, expressly for stealing sensitive information such as credit card numbers, account information, passwords, etc. Cyber criminals continue to evolve and refine their attack tactics to evade detection and use techniques that work. Spear phishing emails are on the rise because they work. We have notice many times that Spear Phishing Attacks are really Successful in order to compromise Enterprise Networks and Stealing Data. From last one month I was getting mails from an unknown spoofed email id regrading a paypal warning with subject " Your account has been limited until we hear from you ! " Guess what, even I am not using that email for my Paypal account, from here I just judge that it's
Social-Engineer Toolkit v1.0 - Latest Version Download

Social-Engineer Toolkit v1.0 - Latest Version Download

November 06, 2010Mohit Kumar
The Social Engineer Toolkit (SET) has been updated to version 1.0! We wrote about the Social Engineer's Toolkit in our old post here. This release is called the Devolution Release.     "The Social Engineering Toolkit (SET) is a python-driven suite of custom tools which solely focuses on attacking the human element of penetration testing. It's main purpose is to augment and simulate social-engineering attacks and allow the tester to effectively test how a targeted attack may succeed." This is the huge changelog for this version:     * Added the new set-automate functionality which will allow you to use SET answer files to automate setting up the toolkit     * Added bridge mode to Ettercap if you want to utilize that capability within Ettercap     * Fixed an issue where multiple meterpreter shells would spawn on a website with multiple HEAD sections in the HTML site     * Added the Metasploit Browser Autopwn functionality into the Metasploit Attack Vector section     * Fixed th
Pro-Tibetan activists become victim of Spear Phishing

Pro-Tibetan activists become victim of Spear Phishing

April 18, 2012Mohit Kumar
Pro-Tibetan activists become victim of Spear Phishing Hackers are ramping up their attacks against Tibetan activists and are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to deliver malware An interesting example of such a malicious email has recently been spotted by FireEye researcher Alex Lanstein, who is currently monitoring these spam campaigns. In the last few of months, several security vendors have reported targeted attacks that distributed malware designed to steal confidential information from people or organizations supporting the Tibetan cause. This tactic recently re-surfaced during our monitoring of Tibetan-leveraging malware campaigns. It came in the form of BKDR_RILER.SVR, a backdoor that arrives infected by PE_SALITY.AC. A simple Spear Phishing technique was used recently to trick Tibetan activists into opening malicious PDF email attachments, by quoting a legitimate email message sent by FireEye's Lanstein to people who submitted Tibet-related malware samples to
Why You Should Enroll In Cyber Security Awareness Training

Why You Should Enroll In Cyber Security Awareness Training

April 14, 2015Wang Wei
When it comes to cyber security, even big organizations lack the basic knowledge of how to protect company's data from the outside. Everyday businesses are facing the threat of phishing, ransomware , data breaches and malware attacks that not only results in millions of dollars losses, but also damaged the reputations. A new study shows that five out of six of the most serious IT security threats directly relate to phishing or the aftermath of a successful phishing attack . SEA, short for Syrian Electronic Army , is famous for its advanced phishing attack capabilities and with the help of the same technique they fooled many popular organizations, social media and news media, including Twitter, Microsoft, Skype, Forbes, eBay and Paypal. Where do we lack? According to the annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations report, about 58% of cyber security incidents were caused by employees, either due to failure in handling data or approving malicious data. So, in
Hackers Who Hit Winter Olympics 2018 Are Still Alive and Kicking

Hackers Who Hit Winter Olympics 2018 Are Still Alive and Kicking

June 19, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Remember the ' Olympic Destroyer ' cyber attack? The group behind it is still alive, kicking and has now been found targeting biological and chemical threat prevention laboratories in Europe and Ukraine, and a few financial organisation in Russia. Earlier this year, an unknown group of notorious hackers targeted Winter Olympic Games 2018 , held in South Korea, using a destructive malware that purposely planted sophisticated false flags to trick researchers into mis-attributing the campaign. Unfortunately, the destructive malware was successful to some extent, at least for a next few days, as immediately after the attack various security researchers postmortem the Olympic Destroyer malware and started attributing the attack to different nation-state hacking groups from North Korea, Russia, and China. Later researchers from Russian antivirus vendor Kaspersky Labs uncovered more details about the attack, including the evidence of false attribution artifacts, and conclud
U.S. Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking Universities to Steal Research Data

U.S. Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking Universities to Steal Research Data

March 25, 2018Swati Khandelwal
The United States Department of Justice has announced criminal charges and sanctions against 9 Iranians involved in hacking universities, tech companies, and government organisations worldwide to steal scientific research resources and academic papers. According to the FBI officials, the individuals are connected to the Mabna Institute , an Iran-based company created in 2013 whose members were allegedly hired by the Iranian government for gathering intelligence. Though the content of the papers is not yet known, investigators believe it might have helped Iranian scientists to develop nuclear weapons. In past four years, the state-sponsored hacking group has allegedly infiltrated more than 320 universities in 22 countries—144 of which were in the United States—and stolen over 30 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property. The group used spear-phishing attacks to target more than 100,000 e-mail accounts and computer systems of the professors around the world, and suc
Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks

Malaysian flight MH370 tragedy abused by Chinese hackers for Espionage attacks

March 26, 2014Wang Wei
The Mysterious Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 , a Boeing 777-200 aircraft that has gone missing by the time it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Malaysian Prime Minister had also confirmed that the Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Cyber Criminals are known to take advantage of major news stories or events where there is a high level of public interest and now Scammers are also targeting tragedy of MH370 to trap innocent Internet users. Just a few days before we warned you about a Facebook malware campaign claimed that the missing Malaysian Airlines ' MH370 has been spotted in the Bermuda Triangle ' with its passengers still alive and invites users to click a link to view breaking news video footage. This week, Security researchers at FireEye have revealed about various ongoing spear phishing and malware attacks by some advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers. According to the researchers, the Chines
Israeli Defense computer hacked in Spear Phishing Attack

Israeli Defense computer hacked in Spear Phishing Attack

January 27, 2014Anonymous
Hackers broke into an Israeli defense ministry computer via an email attachment tainted with malicious software. Reuters reported Israeli Defense is the latest illustrious victim of the Spear Phishing Attack , and hackers penetrated into an Israeli defense ministry computer using a malicious email as a vector. Aviv Raff , Chief Technology officer at Seculert , confirmed that an Email with a malicious attachment that looked like it had been sent by the country's Shin Bet Secret Security Service. The attackers have penetrated into the network of Israeli Defense accessing to 15 computers, one of them managed by the Israel's Civil Administration that monitors Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territory. The Civil Administration is a unit of Israel's Defense Ministry that control the passage of goods between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is clear that the information contained in the infected system represents a precious target for someone that intend to examin
US Govt Warns Critical Industries After Ransomware Hits Gas Pipeline Facility

US Govt Warns Critical Industries After Ransomware Hits Gas Pipeline Facility

February 19, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) earlier today issued a warning to all industries operating critical infrastructures about a new ransomware threat that if left unaddressed could have severe consequences. The advisory comes in response to a cyberattack targeting an unnamed natural gas compression facility that employed spear-phishing to deliver ransomware to the company's internal network, encrypting critical data and knocking servers out of operation for almost two days. "A cyber threat actor used a spear-phishing link to obtain initial access to the organization's information technology network before pivoting to its operational technology network. The threat actor then deployed commodity ransomware to encrypt data for impact on both networks," CISA noted in its alert. As ransomware attacks continue to escalate in frequency and scale , the new development is yet another indication that p
A Look Into Continuous Efforts By Chinese Hackers to Target Foreign Governments

A Look Into Continuous Efforts By Chinese Hackers to Target Foreign Governments

October 02, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Phishing is still one of the widely used strategies by cybercriminals and espionage groups to gain an initial foothold on the targeted systems. Though hacking someone with phishing attacks was easy a decade ago, the evolution of threat detection technologies and cyber awareness among people has slowed down the success of phishing and social engineering attacks over the years. Since phishing is more sort of a one-time opportunity for hackers before their victims suspect it and likely won't fall for the same trick again, sophisticated hacking groups have started putting a lot of effort, time and research to design well-crafted phishing campaigns. In one such latest campaign discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Check Point, a Chinese hacking group, known as Rancor , has been found conducting very targeted and extensive attacks against Southeast Asian government entities from December 2018 to June 2019. What's interesting about this ongoing 7-month long campaign is
A Massive U.S. Property and Demographic Database Exposes 200 Million Records

A Massive U.S. Property and Demographic Database Exposes 200 Million Records

March 05, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
More than 200 million records containing a wide range of property-related information on US residents were left exposed on a database that was accessible on the web without requiring any password or authentication. The exposed data — a mix of personal and demographic details — included the name, address, email address, age, gender, ethnicity, employment, credit rating, investment preferences, income, net worth, and property information, such as: Market value Property type Mortgage amount, rate, type, and lender Refinance amount, rate, type, and lender Previous owners Year built Number of beds and bathrooms Tax assessment information According to security firm Comparitech , the database, which was hosted on Google Cloud, is said to have been first indexed by search engine BinaryEdge on 26th January and discovered a day later by cybersecurity researcher Bob Diachenko. But after failing to identify the database owner, the server was eventually taken offline more than a
Dyre Wolf Banking Malware Stole More Than $1 Million

Dyre Wolf Banking Malware Stole More Than $1 Million

April 04, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have uncovered an active cyber attack campaign that has successfully stolen more than $1 Million from a variety of targeted enterprise organizations using spear phishing emails, malware and social engineering tricks. The campaign, dubbed " The Dyre Wolf " by researchers from IBM's Security Intelligence division, targets businesses and organizations that use wire transfers to transfer large sums of money, even if the transaction is protected by 2-factor authentication. A MIXTURE OF MALWARE, SOCIAL ENGINEERING & DDoS Nowadays, cybercriminals not only rely on banking Trojans to harvest financial credentials, but also using sophisticated social engineering tactics to attack big corporations that frequently conduct wire transfers to move large sums. " An experienced and resource-backed [cyber criminal] gang operates Dyre ," John Kuhn, Senior Threat Researcher at IBM Managed Security Service, wrote in a blog post published Th
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