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This Company Turned a Phishing Attack into a Teachable Moment

February 27, 2019 by Zach Lewis in Phishing

You’ve read it on this blog before. It’s not enough to simulate phishing emails and raise employees’ awareness. At the end of the day, you need to be able to stop real attacks. One key: basing simulations on phishing threats you actually see in your organization. Following is a real example of one CofenseTM customer that took these words to heart. This company is global. It operates in an extremely data-rich industry that stores Social Security numbers, email addresses, credit card information, and more. In other words, they have a lot to protect. First, the company leveraged information from a...

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A Closer Look at Why the QakBot Malware Is So Dangerous

February 22, 2019 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary Cofense Intelligence ™ recently reported a phishing campaign distributing the QakBot malware. QakBot infestation is a significant threat, so be sure to share today’s follow-up post with your SOC analysts. We’ll drill down into the novel techniques QakBot uses to stymie detection and manual analysis. This sophisticated banking trojan, which Cofense™ has seen distributed via the Geodo/Emotet botnet, uses multiple tools to cover its tracks and steal credentials. The threat actors who have developed it are creative and aggressive.

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When Sharing Isn’t Caring: Phishing Attacks Are Abusing File-Sharing Sites

February 20, 2019 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Cofense™ has predicted continued growth in phishing attacks that abuse file-sharing services, for example, Google Docs or Sharepoint. In this post, I’ll examine why and how threat actors are doubling down on this tactic. First, here’s the full prediction from Cofense threat analysts Nick Guarino and Lucas Ashbaugh: “The majority of phish seen in the wild in 2019 will live in historically ‘trusted’ sharing services like Google Docs, Sharepoint, WeTransfer, Dropbox, Citrix ShareFile, and Egnyte. It’s difficult for these services to keep up with the constant barrage of varied phishing tactics (Whack-A-Phish, anyone?). In fact, the service providers can be...

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Here’s Proof that Corporate Board Members Want Stronger Phishing Defense

February 12, 2019 by Cofense in Internet Security Awareness

By Susan Mo More and more, boards of directors are security decision-makers. One example: Cofense just published a case study on a company whose board lit a fire for a stronger phishing defense—and it’s paying dividends.  This board took the lead in launching phishing simulations.  A leading aviation company in my part of the world, Australia, has a highly public presence. Translation: any security issues would likely make headlines. So the board mandated an anti-phishing program. Using Cofense PhishMeTM, the company now runs phishing simulations to condition its employees to recognize and report phishing emails.  The program is still in the...

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With Upgrades in Delivery and Support Infrastructure, Revenge RAT Malware is a Bigger Threat

February 11, 2019 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary The Revenge RAT malware is getting stealthier, thanks to unusually advanced delivery techniques and support infrastructure. Cofense IntelligenceTM has recently seen this basic and widely available Remote Access Trojan benefit from these upgrades, which help it to access webcams, microphones, and other utilities as Revenge RAT does recon and tries to gain a foothold in targeted computers. When they succeed, RATs enable threat actors to wreak havoc, including monitoring user behavior through keyloggers or other spyware, filching personal information, and distributing other malware.

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Expect Credential Phishing to Continue Surging in 2019

February 6, 2019 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

“Hackers don’t need to break in, they only need to log in.” This was a quote mentioned at a conference I attended last December and which I repeated in an e-book Cofense™ recently published, 6 Phishing Predictions for 2019. My prediction was that hackers will continue to go full bore with credential phishing, emails that specifically ask for username and password.  

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Emo..Qak? Geodo/Emotet Botnet Delivers Qakbot Malware as First-Stage Payload

February 4, 2019 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Max Gannon, Mollie MacDougall, Darrel Rendell, and Aaron Riley CISO Summary In the past few days, CofenseTM has detected double trouble from the Geodo/Emotet malware. Not only have we seen Geodo botnets directly delivering non-Geodo malware via phishing campaigns, we’ve also observed Geodo campaigns use more precise targeting.

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We’re Making It Easy for MSSP’s to Deliver Phishing Defense

January 31, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing

By John McCabe We’re Making It Easy for MSSP’s to Deliver Phishing Defense A new Cofense™ Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) program makes it easy for service providers to offer phishing defense to small and medium-sized businesses. Phishing is a huge problem for SMB’s. With limited budget and expertise, they’re often targets of spear phishing, ransomware, and other attacks.

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The Malware Holiday Ends—Welcome Back Geodo and Chanitor

January 29, 2019 by Darrel Rendell in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary Even cybercriminals knock off for the holidays. Then in January, it’s back to work. We all have bills to pay. This past holiday season, including the Russian Orthodox Christmas which fell on January 7, threat actors cooled their heels and malware campaigns dipped. But with the holidays over, threat actors are back in action. Chanitor malware campaigns are spiking, at even higher levels than a year ago, and Geodo/Emotet campaigns have been surging too.

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Introducing the Cofense Triage Certification Program

January 23, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident Response

By Kiarra Grant Want to be a certified expert in phishing response? Now you can. Introducing the Cofense Triage TM Operators Certification. It’s our second industry-specific certification program, complementing our program for operators of Cofense PhishMeTM. The new program is focused on Cofense Triage, the first and only phishing-specific incident response platform. Become an expert in Cofense Triage while taking your phishing defense program to the next level. The Cofense Triage Certification program provides: Validation and certification of skills in the operation of Cofense Triage Training in running a successful phishing response program The ability to augment Cofense solution expertise...

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Jigsaw Ransomware Returns With Extortion Scam Ploys

January 23, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Lucas Ashbaugh Want to play a game? Jigsaw ransomware does, and it’s going to run you $400… or you could just download the free decrypter online. Jigsaw, featuring Billy The Puppet from Saw, was first released in 2016. It not only encrypts the victim’s files but deletes them at a continuously increasing rate until a payment in bitcoin can be confirmed against the bitcoin blockchain. Now, Jigsaw has been observed again, this time delivered through scam tactics. The Delivery Each email starts off with a ploy about how the threat actor somehow compromised the victim’s financial accounts. After shocking and...

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The Kutaki Malware Bypasses Gateways to Steal Users’ Credentials

January 21, 2019 by Darrel Rendell in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary It’s a case of hiding in plain sight. CofenseTM recently found a phishing campaign that hides the Kutaki malware in a legitimate application to bypass email gateways and harvest users’ credentials.

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Phishing Campaigns are Manipulating the Windows Control Panel Extension to Deliver Banking Trojans

January 17, 2019 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Aaron Riley and Marcel Feller CISO Summary Recently, CofenseTM has seen phishing campaigns that bypass email security using a .cpl file extension attachment. .CPL is the file name extension for items or icons appearing in the Windows Control Panel. These file extensions are vital for most Control Panel tools to function, making endpoint threat mitigation extremely difficult. After evading controls and successfully executing on the endpoint, the .cpl file downloads a second-stage payload, which is typically a banking trojan. According to Cofense IntelligenceTM, most of these phishing campaigns are aimed at South American inboxes. As part of security awareness training...

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Exploiting an Unpatched Vulnerability, the Ave_Maria Malware Is Not Full of Grace

January 10, 2019 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary CofenseTM has seen a rise in phishing campaigns designed to deliver a type of stealer malware called Ave_Maria. It contains a capability, DLL hijacking, that uses a vulnerability with no forthcoming fix. With origins in a publicly available utility, DLL lets Ave_Maria gain greater admin privileges and avoid detection, then steal information so it can download additional plugins and potentially other payloads. This malware can bypass detection and privilege restrictions on many endpoints.

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The Vjw0rm Malware Does It All. Here’s What to Watch For.

January 9, 2019 by Aaron Riley in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary  It’s called the Vengeance Justice Worm (Vjw0rm), but think of it as the Leatherman tool of malware. Vjw0rm wreaks havoc in highly versatile ways: information theft, denial of service (DoS) attacks, and self-propagation to name a few. CofenseTM has spotted this hybrid threat—a cross between a worm and a remote access trojan (RAT)—in a recent phishing campaign dangling a banking lure.   

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In 2018, Cheap and Easy Malware Flooded Corporate Inboxes

January 8, 2019 by Darrel Rendell in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary Sometimes it’s the simple things that make life hard. In 2018, over 2/3 of unique malware campaigns Cofense IntelligenceTM observed were simple, inexpensive “stealers” or remote access trojans (RATs). With exceptionally low barrier-to-entry—an email account or website can handle distribution and communication—these malware types make data theft a viable career choice for threat actors without the skills to use more advanced varieties.

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Threats of Terror Pervade Recent Extortion Phishing Campaigns

December 20, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Lucas Ashbaugh “There is an explosive device (tronitrotoluene) in the building where your business is conducted […] there will be many victims if it explodes”

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Domain Fronting, Phishing Attacks, and What CISOs Need to Know

December 13, 2018 by Aaron Riley in Threat Intelligence

CISO Summary Cofense IntelligenceTM is seeing continued use of a cyber-attack technique known as domain fronting. It’s yet another way hackers conceal their malicious activity, in this case using work-arounds to evade security controls and gain access to command-and-control (C2) infrastructure (scroll down for a technical explanation). Cozy Bear, the Russian threat actors, used similar tactics when they hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Today, businesses are dealing with phishing and malware attacks that domain fronting enables. While Google and Amazon have taken measures in their CDNs to curtail this trend, we have seen an uptick in C2 infrastructure...

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TV-License Phishing Scam Tricks UK Users Into Giving Personal Information

December 5, 2018 by Milo Salvia in Threat Intelligence

Cofense Intelligence™ recently observed a new phishing scam making the rounds in the United Kingdom. It poses as the TV licensing authority better known as the British Broadcasting Corporation. The premise behind the scam is to trick the user into believing that he or she is breaking the law by not owning a valid license to receive TV, a criminal offense in the UK with a maximum penalty of a £1000 fine plus any legal costs incurred during prosecution.  

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2018: A Reverse-Course for Ransomware

December 5, 2018 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Mollie MacDougall The overall number of ransomware campaigns and active families has declined precipitously in 2018 as compared to last year, almost certainly due to multiple deterrents and a better alternative for profit-minded hackers. This reverse-course in ransomware trends follows years of sustained growth in the number of ransomware families and unique campaigns. Still, ransomware attacks make headlines and will likely continue into next year.

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5 Things We Launched this Year to Stop Phishing Attacks Faster

December 17, 2018 by John Fitzgerald in Phishing

Merry Phishmas! It’s been another busy year of phishing scams, malware delivery, and other Grinchy activity. To help keep you protected, Cofense™ has refined our solutions to stop phishing in its tracks. Following are some of the new capabilities we launched in 2018. 

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Mature Your Anti-Phishing Program to Reflect Active Threats

November 28, 2018 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

At CofenseTM we often hear comments from customers like, “My anti-phishing program has been running for years, email reporting rates have increased, and overall my users are better prepared. How can I continue to address and lower my risk?”

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Major US Financial Institutions Imitated in Advanced Geodo/Emotet Phishing Lures that Appear More Authentic by Containing ProofPoint URL Wrapped Links

November 19, 2018 by Cofense in PhishingThreat Intelligence

By Darrel Rendell, Mollie MacDougall, and Max Gannon Cofense IntelligenceTM has observed Geodo (also known as Emotet) malware campaigns that are effectively spoofing major US financial institutions in part by including legitimate URLs wrapped in Proofpoint’s (PFPT) TAP URL Defense wrapping service. This adds an air of legitimacy to the casual observer, designed to increase the chances of malware infection. Figures 1 and 2 provide examples of the template and URL wrapping. Cofense Intelligence assesses the improved phishing templates are likely based upon data pilfered with a recently updated scraper module to spoof US financial institutions so effectively. Figure 1:...

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October may be over – but phishing attacks never stop. Here’s how to make security awareness successful all year round.

November 1, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Part 4 of a 4-part series in support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You can read part 3 here. As October comes to a close, so too does National Cybersecurity Awareness month. But not so fast – Security Awareness isn’t just about October. It’s all year long and it never stops, it’s ever evolving. I developed this four-part blog series during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month to provide key industry insights and proven methodologies for building and enhancing your security awareness program. We started in week 1 with building a program strategy, followed up by discussing program content in week 2....

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Where Do Security Awareness Programs Belong on the Org Chart?

October 25, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Part 3 of a 4-part series in support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You can read part 2 here. For this blog series on building a security awareness program, we started in week 1 with how to build a strategy. Last week we discussed how to select and use content in your overall program and specifically your phishing program. This week we’ll focus on program alignment – in other words, where does the security awareness role report within an organization?

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Security Awareness: Choosing Methods and Content that Work

October 15, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Part 2 in our 4-part series in support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. You can read part 1 here.  Last week we examined the importance of setting a strategy and goals for your security awareness program. Now that you’ve selected the user behaviors you want to address, the next step is to think about methods and content to nudge users to the correct behaviors. We live a fast-paced world of information overload. You have seconds to get your message across to engage your users. You need to choose proven learning methods and focus your educational content on the behaviors that...

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Phishing Enables Domestic Violence. Education Can Help Stop It.

October 8, 2018 by Jim Hansen in Internet Security Awareness

According to estimates, approximately 760 people, or more than two per day, are killed by their partners. Most of the victims are women.1  Making matters worse, abusers use “stalkerware” to track their victims online, cutting off sources of income, isolating them from friends and family, and otherwise trying to control every aspect of their lives.

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Building a Security Awareness Program? Start with Strategy and Goals

October 8, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Part 1 of a 4-part series on building and maintaining a security awareness program, in support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In 2011, I began my journey into security awareness. At that time, there were limited resources and most programs were still compliance focused. Even though I had previously spent 5 years in IT compliance, I knew this wasn’t the right approach to get users to learn or care about security. I kept telling the director that owned the role, “Compliance focus is wrong –you have to market to the users.”

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Ouch! Our Report Shows Why the Healthcare Industry Needs Better Phishing Defense

September 24, 2018 by John Robinson in Internet Security AwarenessPhishing

Cofense™ released new research last week on phishing in the healthcare industry. It’s one of those industries that routinely gets hammered by phishing and data breaches. In fact, according to Verizon’s most recent Data Breach Investigations Report, over a third of all breaches target healthcare companies1. One recently reported example: the phishing attack on the Augusta University healthcare system, which triggered a breach that may have compromised the confidential records of nearly half a million people. None of this is surprising, considering that healthcare lives and breathes data. But our research also found this: Healthcare lags behind other industries in...

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Here’s a Free Turnkey Phishing Awareness Program for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

September 18, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

So….it’s September and October is only a few weeks away. Have you started putting together your campaign for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) yet? If not, you’re in luck – we’ve created a complimentary turnkey phishing awareness program for you to quickly launch and look like a super hero to your leader AND your organization! And best yet, these resources can be used all year round – BECAUSE security awareness goes beyond October. 

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