2017 Trends: Socially Engineered Attacks Will Grow in Scope and Scale

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Thu, Jan 05, 2017

In a world where billions of username/password combinations have been compromised by hackers, it is increasingly difficult to be certain that the sender of an email is the person that they claim to be. Masquerading and fictitious social accounts, copycat domains, online user groups, and rogue websites are becoming more common. These fraudulent online personalities and properties are often the launching pad for socially engineered attacks such as BEC schemes.

BEC attacks grew in sophistication and effectiveness in 2016, compromising businesses in every market -- leading healthcare organizations, an NBA team, financial institutions, the World Anti-Doping Association, to John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee. The cost of these attacks? Tens of millions of dollars, incalculable reputational damage and possibly an election....

Exploits driven by stolen or invented identities are a menace, and BrandProtect analysts believe that trend will continue in 2017. CISOs and Digital Governance teams need to prepare their company, and protect other companies from BEC and socially engineered attacks that are made using their identity or corporate personality.

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Topics: cyber threats, CISO, BEC Attacks, Social Engineering, External Threat, Cyber Attack, Digital Governance

It's not Fake News...It's a Content-based Cyber Attack.

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Wed, Nov 23, 2016

 

Facebook and Twitter have been talking a lot about fake news recently.
And so have a lot of other people. Depending upon who you read, and who you believe, fake news played a major role in the recent presidential election. But fake news isn't limited to politics. Fake news, and its relatives, are some of the most vexing types of external cyber attacks facing corporations, institutions and enterprises. 

“Fake news” can originate practically anywhere on the Internet -- through tweets, posts, blogs, wikis, discussion forums, chats, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and more.  There are even official "citizen journalist" sides like CNN's iReport or reddit, where end-users can directly publish their views, or their content, without fact-checking, editing, or any other kind of content-curation. 

This un-proctored, un-curated, un-fact-checked content creates a nightmare for enterprises.  These are content-based cyber attacks that don’t touch company infrastructure at all. They exist completely outside the firewall, beyond the traditional perimeter. But even without touching the targeted company directly these attacks can have huge impacts on a company’s revenues, operations, and reputations....

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Topics: Social Media Monitoring, cyber threats, External Threat, Content-based Cyber Attack, Cyber Attack

Massive Mobile App Fraud Kicks Off Black Friday Cyber Exploits

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Mon, Nov 07, 2016

Just as the cyber-election manipulators are finishing their work, the "for-profit" population of on-line fraudsters are coming online -- launching their efforts to bilk the public between now and November 25, Black Friday, the peak of heaviest online shopping day of the year.

Mobile app fraud is dominating the first wave of this year's Black Friday cyber attacks. First reported in the New York Post, and further reported in the New York Times, a slew of imitation and copycat mobile apps have appeared online in the last few weeks - parodying trusted brands such as Dollar Tree and Foot Locker, iconic stores like Dillard’s and Nordstrom, online retailers like Zappos.com and Polyvore, and luxury-goods purveyors Jimmy Choo, Christian Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.

What makes this wave of fraudulent applications different is the targeted platform: Apple's iOS.

Historically, the bulk of fraudulent mobile apps detected and analyzed by BrandProtect and other vendors have appeared on various android platforms and have been distributed via third party and offshore app stores.  Not so with these rogue apps -- these have been discovered on the official Apple App Store.

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Topics: black friday, mobile app monitoring, cyber monday, mobile malware, CISO, External Threat

The IoT Attack is Fascinating. It Puts Even More Emphasis on External Threats.

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Tue, Oct 25, 2016

Last Friday, cyber security experts were on the edge off their seats, mouths agape, as they monitored the progress (and effectiveness!) of the DDoS attack on Internet infrastructure provider DYN.  Last week’s attack differed from past attacks because the attacks were launched not from traditional devices, but from 10s of millions of discrete devices. Here’s what DYN said about the attack in their official statement of 10/21/2016:

At this point we know this was a sophisticated, highly distributed attack involving 10s of millions of IP addresses. We are conducting a thorough root cause and forensic analysis, and will report what we know in a responsible fashion. The nature and source of the attack is under investigation, but it was a sophisticated attack across multiple attack vectors and internet locations. We can confirm, with the help of analysis from Flashpoint and Akamai, that one source of the traffic for the attacks were devices infected by the Mirai botnet. We observed 10s of millions of discrete IP addresses associated with the Mirai botnet that were part of the attack.

Today, 48+hours removed from the original attack, we know a lot more... 

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Topics: Social Media Monitoring, cyber threats, External Threat, IoT

Thanks to Yahoo!, there are 500,000,000 new reasons CISOs should think more about external threats

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Fri, Sep 23, 2016

 

Sad to say, but yesterday's Yahoo! news could not have been that surprising. Yahoo joins LinkedIn, Gmail, Twitter and Facebook in the pantheon of leading social networks that have suffered (very public) large-scale data breaches. Healthcare providers like Anthem, Blue Cross and many others are also members of this exclusive club. 500 million records is a lot of records, but truly, it's getting to the point where the world is awash in stolen records....

It is also not surprising that many the stories appearing today highlight the steps a company should take AFTER it has been hacked, like this one on MSNBC.  But do stories like these really solve anything?

Pundits are fond of saying "it's not IF you'll get hacked, but WHEN you'll get hacked," but that doesn't mean that enterprise security teams should roll over and await their fate. There are lots of things that enterprises can do BEFORE they get hacked that should reduce their risks from a large number of external threats...

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Topics: data breach, Phishing, Spear Phishing, CISO, External Threat, Executive Threat, Masquerades

Say it Ain't So! Serena & Venus Williams, Simone Biles, Compromised in Cyber Hack of WADA

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Wed, Sep 14, 2016

 

Vendetta?  Absolutely.

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Topics: data breach, Spear Phishing, BEC Attacks, Social Engineering, External Threat

Intelligence, Or Action?
What Do CISOs Really Need?

Posted by Greg Mancusi-Ungaro

Mon, Aug 22, 2016

 

Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) is all the rage.

Every day, it seems, there is another vendor offering a new fire hose of intelligence data, trying to meet the almost insatiable demand for data of CISOs and Security Operations Centers  These feeds promise ever-increasing quantities of all kinds of cyber stuff, from inside and outside the organization, the individual streams delivered to the analytical desks, SIEMs and SOCs for filtering, analysis and attempts at big data manipulation. For the largest enterprises, acquiring and analyzing this data can cost multiple millions of dollars a year.  And as the focus of these security investments centers on the data, very few teams have built expertise to actually mitigate the threats that are impacting their organizations every day.  Mitigation? Unfortunately, for many enterprises, that's tomorrow's problem...

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Topics: cyber threats, analytics, CISO, InfoSec, Threat Intelligence, SOC, External Threat, mitigation, Ponemon

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