NSA Used In Spearphishing Scam

Cyveillance reports on a new spearphishing scam that masquerades as the National Security Agency.   The malicious email claims to be from the NSA and exploits the recent compromise of the RSA two factor authentication token to deceive the recipient.   This is an image of the scam email: Cyveillance elaborates on the power of this scam: The sender name is spoofed to appear to come from “protection@nsa.security.gov” and the links go to national-security-agency.com, a domain that was just registered yesterday. This attack is a perfect example of how deeply spear-phishers understand the psychology of social engineering users.  It invokes the authority of a respected [...]

2018-04-06T14:07:05+00:00 July 27th, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|

How 24,000 Pentagon Files Were Stolen

On July 14,  2011, during a speech introducing the Pentagon's new cybersecurity strategy, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn, III disclosed that 24,000 files had been lost to "foreign intruders."  Lynn said the files contained some of the U.S.'s "most sensitive systems, including aircraft avionics, surveillance technologies." How could this happen?  FastCompany reports that this was accomplished using a spear-phishing email to deliver an email payload with a zero day exploit.  The malicious email was sent to a defense contractor, rather than the Department of Defense.  The key to a successful spear-phishing attack is creating a highly personalized email that will deceive the recipient into taking the [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 21st, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|

U.S. Dept. of Defense Cybersecurity Strategy

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Defense released its cybersecurity strategy.  The DoD summarized the importance of cybersecurity: Along with the rest of the U.S. government, the Department of Defense (DoD) depends on cyberspace to function. It is difficult to overstate this reliance; DoD operates over 15,000 networks and seven million computing devices across hundreds of installations in dozens of countries around the globe. DoD uses cyberspace to enable its military, intelligence, and business operations, including the movement of personnel and material and the command and control of the full spectrum of military operations. The report stresses the role of people [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 15th, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|

Are Spear Phishing Victims Idiots?

In  a June 27, 2011 article entitled, "Human Errors Fuel Hacking as Test Shows Nothing Stops Idiocy", Bloomberg reports that people whose systems are compromised in spear phishing scams are idiots. Spear phishing is a scam in which the miscreant sends personalized emails to deceive the recipient into comprising data. The article cites the alarming statistic that in Department of Homeland Security experiments, 60% of people who found USB drives in the parking lot plugged the devices into their computers.  The article continues that human errors negate all the time and investment in firewalls and other technical defenses.  The article [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 13th, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|

Jefferson Lab Identified as Cyber-victim

Yesterday, we wrote about the compromise of three U.S. National Laboratories.  Venture Beat has now identified the third facility.  That facility is Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. On July 6, 2011, General Michael Hayden, USAF Ret., spoke before The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies on cybersecurity.  General Hayden is a former director of the CIA and the NSA.  Discussing the cyber-attacks such as these, General Hayden said, "If we don’t act boldly, something really bad is going to happen.”  Michael Tiffany, Chief Architect at Recursion Ventures, also spoke. He observed, “Today the people who are succeeding at these types of attacks are the ones who [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 8th, 2011|Phishing, SP Guard|

Three US National Labs Compromised by Spear Phishing

Digital Doa reports that on July 1, the networks of Battelle Memorial Institute Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and An undisclosed national laboratory suffered sophisticated attacks.  As of today, July 7, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (www.pnnl.gov) was still off-line. Battelle manages several Department of Energy labs including: Brookhaven National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory Oak Ridge National Laboratory Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Computer World reports that  although the specifics of the attacks have not been disclosed, they were probably perpetrated by spear-phishing email, in the manner of the attack on Oak Ridge National Laboratory earlier this year. [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 7th, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|

Homeland Security Proves — People Are Security Risk

Bloomberg reported on data security studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   The article discussed how easy it is to mislead people into taking actions that compromise systems.   The Bloomberg article was widely quoted about the finding that 60% of employees who found a thumbdrive in the parking lot plugged it into their computers.  Bloomberg reported the figure was 90% if the thumbdrive was stamped with a government logo. DHS has now refuted the story.  DHS reports that the research was not conducted by DHS. DHS said that the actual rate at which employees plugged in [...]

2017-01-07T17:35:27+00:00 July 6th, 2011|SP Guard, spear phishing|