On May 7, 2018, the FBI published its report of online crimes, 2017 Internet Crime Report. This vis summaries the FBI's findings: The largest losses were attributed to the Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise in which the victim is tricked into sending money to criminals. This crime is almost exclusively committed using deceptive emails. Deceptive emails are also used to commit other internet crimes such as data breaches, identity theft, phishing, and ransomware. SP Guard fights email deception by helping users identify suspicious emails.
The FBI warns that cyber criminals are sending phishing emails that impersonate the FBI! Why does this scam work? Because it is easy for cyber criminals to create very convincing emails that appear to come from the FBI. The FBI gives some examples here. How big a problem is fake email? What are the big cyber crime problems? Check in next week when we discuss the FBI's recently released 2017 Internet Crime Annual Report.
Today the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released its Report on Russian Active Measures. This report describes the measures the Russians took to interfere in elections in the United States and Europe. Starting on page 22 and ending on page 28 the Committee explains in detail how the Russians conducted their cyberattacks. With the exception of the introductory and concluding text, the only unredacted materials are this box on page 23: And the caption "Attribution is a Bear" on page 26. A discussion of Guccifer, a Russian hacking persona, follows the redacted discussion of how the Russians conducted their [...]
The business email compromise (BEC) is a phishing scam in which the bad guy uses deceptive emails to trick accounting personnel into misdirecting money. The FBI calls BEC a $5 Billion scam. It is now being reported that Lazio, an Italian professional soccer club, lost €2 million to phishers. The phishers sent an email to Lazio which demanded payment of a player transfer fee to Feyenoord, another professional soccer club. Unknown to the victims, the bank to which they sent the money was not Feyenoord's bank account.
On Friday, March 23, 2018, the United States Justice Department charged nine Iranians with the cyber theft of massive amounts of U.S. intellectual property. Quoting from the Justice Department press release: The defendants were each leaders, contractors, associates, hackers-for-hire or affiliates of the Mabna Institute, an Iran-based company that, since at least 2013, conducted a coordinated campaign of cyber intrusions into computer systems belonging to 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the State of Hawaii, the State of Indiana, the [...]
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently released a new Cyber Threat Framework. Our commentary regarding the ODNI's framework was just published by the Small Wars Journal. You can download a pdf version from our website.
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert entitled, Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. The alert warns about how the Russians are seeking to interfere with critical U.S. infrastructure using cyber tools. How bad is the problem? This is a screen shot reconstruction of Russians gaining unauthorized access to an industrial control system. DHS used Lockheed's 7-Stage Cyber Kill Chain framework to describe the details of the Russian threat. Reconnaissance. The Russians researched their targets for information to use in spearphishing emails. There were two classes of targets. There are "staging targets" which were [...]
With all the press about phishing and hacking and social engineering, you have to ask, "Why Do People Phish?" Certainly state actors like Russia and North Korea have political objectives. But they aren't after me. Why do people phish average businesses and people? A recent prosecution in Virginia makes it clear why people phish -- it's the money! Yesterday (March 6, 2018), Olajide Abraham Eyitayo of Hempstead, NY, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.1 in a phishing scam. The particular scam he used was what the FBI calls a Business Email Compromise. The FBI describes the scam: The schemers [...]
The Associated Press reports that the FBI failed to warn government officials who were being targeted by Russian spearphishing attacks. One wonders what such a warning would say. The FBI could revise the common warning, "Don't open suspicious emails." to "You are the target of an attack, don't open suspicious emails from Russians." Of course, a hallmark of Russian attacks is that they are well-crafted to be non-suspicious. Such warnings offer little assistance in actually performing the task of spotting deceptive Russian emails. SP Guard helps users avoid deceptive emails.
New research from Google, U.C. Berkeley and International Computer Science Institute made this stunning finding: We find victims of phishing are 400x more likely to be successfully hijacked compared to a random Google user. In comparison, this rate falls to 10x for data breach victims and roughly 40x for keylogger victims. This just examined one problem -- stolen credentials. Now consider how this applies to installing ransomware and malware, abuse of native processes, human misdirection of files (such as sending payroll tax returns in response to phishing) and the Business Email Compromise. Interestingly, the researchers do not ask why phishing [...]