The cable TV channel H2 is running a mini-series on the human mind - Your Bleeped Up Brain. The series is truly fascinating. While we think our heads contain a highly precise computer, it turns out that the ball of matter inside our heads is good at navigating life, but not very good at discerning fine details out of a complex environment. For those us of in the cybersecurity world, the last episode - Deception - is particularly interesting. In Deception, the show presents several examples of how the brain takes incomplete or inaccurate information and completes the story to [...]
Eric Fiterman of Rogue Networks/Methodvue demonstrates how to construct a malicious email that effectively impersonates President Obama. Using malware delivered in an attachment, Fiterman takes control of the recipient’s computer. Watch as he steals passwords, searches for files and even takes a picture of his victim using the computer’s camera. What permits Fiterman to infiltrate this computer? The recipient can't distinguish a real email from the President from a fake email from the President. People need to know if an email is really from the President. They need to know if an email is really from a co-worker. SP Guard from Iconix [...]
The New York Daily News is reporting that Acting State Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler was the victim of an email scam while trying to sell her apartment and buy another. Justice Sattler The press report says that a person posing as the Justice's lawyer sent her an email with payment instructions. Believing the email came from her lawyer, the justice wired $1,057,500 to the account specified in the email. The money was then transferred to Commerce Bank of China. The Justice was the victim of a crime of deception perpetrated using email. This crime relied on the fact that [...]
The Intercept_ is reporting about Russian hacking of the presidential election, citing a document that may have been obtained from the NSA. This graphic provides an overview of the Russian cyberattack methodology: This graphic reveals the true nature of a spearphishing cyberattack - the target of these attacks is human cognition, computers are merely the means to convey the deception. How do you defend human cognition against deception? With a tool that reveals the deception. That is what SP Guard does.
Cyberspace around the world has fallen victim to a massive ransomware attack. How could such a thing happen? New Scientist sums it up: The first computers were infected by people unwittingly clicking links in phishing emails. But from each patient zero the software then spread through computer networks by itself. Once installed on a machine, the malware encrypted all of the files it could find, locking them away from users. SP Guard helps protect against ransomware by unmasking phishing emails. With SP Guard, users can spot and report attack emails instead of becoming victims.
A large scale phishing attack using a google docs exploit rapidly spread across the internet today. Google Docs Phishing Email You can learn about the data processing aspects of this attack. It has been reported in the The Wall Street Journal, The Verge, The New York Times, and many other sources. What about the human aspects of this problem? Why did people open these emails? Why do people open any emails? Prof. Arun Vishwanath, in Why Do People Get Phished, established that people open emails as a matter of habit which is invoked in response to perceived relevance and [...]
Google and Facebook were victims of a spearphishing scam in which the attacker stole $100 million. Paragraph 6 of the indictment details some of the allegations: ... as part of the scheme, fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the Victim Companies. The emails purported to be from employees and agents of Company‑1 [the real supplier], but in truth and in fact, they were not sent or authorized by employees or agents of Company‑1. The fraudulent emails were sent from email accounts that were designed to create the false appearance that they were sent by employees and agents [...]
According to TAPintoNewark, the online newspaper in Newark, Jersey, someone is shaking down the City of Newark for 24 Bitcoin (about $30,000) in a ransomware attack. How did this happen? TAPintoNewark explains: The RSA-2048 maleware typically infects a user's computer when they are tricked into running an attachment in a spam email. Once the maleware is launched, it encrypts files and requires a "private key" to open them. The private key is only provided after the user pays the ransom. Why would a user open an evil email and then run an evil attachment? Because the email is a carefully crafted work [...]
SC Media is reporting that the cybercriminals known as the Callisto Group have been targeting the UK Foreign Office. SC Media reports that the unknown attackers are seeking to steal information regarding European foreign and security policy from military personnel, government offices, think tanks and journalists. The targets are concentrated in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, Ukraine and the U.K. The tool of choice -- Spearphishing.
This week's patch Tuesday brought a Microsoft Word patch to fix a particularly nasty exploit used by bad guys to compromise your system. The traditional attack progresses through eight steps: 1. Email bypasses defenses, delivered to inbox. 2. User sees email. 3. User opens email. 4. User sees attachment. 5. User opens attachment. 6. User sees active content prompt. 7. User enables active content. 8. Evil activated. The exploit eliminated steps 6 & 7. Using the exploit, the attacker was able to install tools merely by the user opening the attachment, without the user enabling the active content. As soon as the user opens [...]
The United States indicted four Russians for compromising over 500 million Yahoo! user accounts. Indicted Russian Hackers So, how did they do it? In an interview with Ars Technica, the FBI said that the hackers gained access to Yahoo!'s systems using ------ Spearphishing!
In the W-2 phishing scam, the bad guy sends an email pretending to be an executive requesting the firm's payroll tax data. In the business email compromise, the bad guy sends an email pretending to be an executive sending wire transfer instructions. The IRS is warning about a new scam that combines the W-2 scam and the business email compromise into a merged scam. According to KrebsOnSecurity: “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Although not tax related, the wire transfer scam is being coupled with [...]