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America’s First: US Leads in Global Malware C2 Distribution

October 19, 2018 by Cofense in Malware AnalysisThreat Intelligence

By Mollie MacDougall and Darrel Rendell Cofense Intelligence™ has found that 27% of network Indicators of Compromise (IoC) from phishing-borne malware analysed during 2018 used C2 infrastructure located in, or proxied through, the United States—making the US the leader in global malware C2 distribution. Map 1 details these observations. This does not indicate that US-based users are getting hit disproportionately, as threat actors are incentivised to host C2 infrastructure outside of their own country or countries with extradition agreements with their host nations to avoid arrest and/or extradition. However, C2 infrastructure is enormously biased toward compromised hosts, indicating a high prevalence...

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Email Security Gateway (to Your Next Breach)

October 16, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

BY THE COFENSE PHISHING DEFENSE CENTER Email is the most common attack vector in today’s threat landscape. Not only does email deliver over 92% of malware1, but by the end of 2017 the average user received 16 malicious emails per month.2 Cyber-criminals and APT actors abuse email to deliver malware or steal user credentials and other sensitive data. Because it is ubiquitous, email is an oft-targeted, massive attack surface. Proofpoint and Mimecast Often Can’t Handle Simple Phishing Attacks That’s why companies spend thousands to millions of dollars on security technologies, including secure email gateways. Let’s be clear: it is erroneous...

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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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Threat Actors Customize URLs to Avoid Detection

October 4, 2018 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

Threat actors have many ways to avoid being detected. Today, let’s look at how they tweak URLs to bypass firewall rules—and what you can do to stop them from succeeding.

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A Staggering Amount of Stolen Data is Heading to Zoho Domains

October 2, 2018 by Darrel Rendell in Malware Analysis

After last month’s brief domain suspension of Zoho—which resulted from an insufficient response to reported phishing abuse— Cofense Intelligence™ has uncovered Zoho’s connection to an extremely high number of keylogger phishing campaigns designed to harvest data from infected machines. Of all Keyloggers analysed by Cofense, 40% used a zoho.com or zoho.eu email address to exfiltrate data from victim machines.

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How to Orchestrate a Smarter Phishing Response

October 1, 2018 by John Fitzgerald in Cyber Incident Response

We’ve been talking a lot recently about phishing-specific SOAR (Security Orchestration Automation and Response). It’s a capability CofenseTM has pioneered to help you mitigate phishing emails faster and more efficiently. Recently, we examined automation, the ‘A’ in the acronym. Now let’s take a deeper look at the ‘O,’ orchestration. Involve the Right Teams Faster with Cofense TriageTM Like a symphony conductor waving a wand, your phishing response needs to engage the right teams at the right time. To make that happen, Cofense TriageTM starts by reducing noise with an advanced spam engine, removing benign emails your employees have reported and...

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Potential Misuse of Legitimate Websites to Avoid Malware Detection

September 28, 2018 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

Sometimes, common malware will attempt to gather information about its environment, such as public IP address, language, and location. System queries and identifier websites like whatismyipaddress.com are often used for these purposes, but are easily identified by modern network monitors and antivirus. It’s important to know, however, that everyday interactions with legitimate websites provide much of the same information and are not monitored because the interactions are legitimate. In other words, threat actors can bypass automated defenses by abusing legitimate websites that often cannot be blocked for business purposes. First, cookies—easily accessible records of a user’s interactions with a webpage—are...

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Beware of payroll-themed phishing. Here’s one example.

September 26, 2018 by Neera Desai in Threat Intelligence

Last week, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) published a public service announcement on cybercriminals disseminating payroll-themed phishing emails. These phishing emails, often imitating financial organizations, contain alluring content such as an enticing subject line or use social engineering techniques to convince targets that the email is from a legitimate source. Cofense Intelligence™ has observed payroll-themed phishing lures requesting targets to view an embedded link or download an attached file. The emails typically deliver credential phishing links or malware that is tasked with stealing the target’s financial and personal credentials. Recently, Cofense Intelligence analyzed a payroll-themed phish distributing the TrickBot...

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Threat Actors Customize URLs to Avoid Detection

October 4, 2018 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

Threat actors have many ways to avoid being detected. Today, let’s look at how they tweak URLs to bypass firewall rules—and what you can do to stop them from succeeding.

READ MORE

A Staggering Amount of Stolen Data is Heading to Zoho Domains

October 2, 2018 by Darrel Rendell in Malware Analysis

After last month’s brief domain suspension of Zoho—which resulted from an insufficient response to reported phishing abuse— Cofense Intelligence™ has uncovered Zoho’s connection to an extremely high number of keylogger phishing campaigns designed to harvest data from infected machines. Of all Keyloggers analysed by Cofense, 40% used a zoho.com or zoho.eu email address to exfiltrate data from victim machines.

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How to Orchestrate a Smarter Phishing Response

October 1, 2018 by John Fitzgerald in Cyber Incident Response

We’ve been talking a lot recently about phishing-specific SOAR (Security Orchestration Automation and Response). It’s a capability CofenseTM has pioneered to help you mitigate phishing emails faster and more efficiently. Recently, we examined automation, the ‘A’ in the acronym. Now let’s take a deeper look at the ‘O,’ orchestration. Involve the Right Teams Faster with Cofense TriageTM Like a symphony conductor waving a wand, your phishing response needs to engage the right teams at the right time. To make that happen, Cofense TriageTM starts by reducing noise with an advanced spam engine, removing benign emails your employees have reported and...

READ MORE

Potential Misuse of Legitimate Websites to Avoid Malware Detection

September 28, 2018 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

Sometimes, common malware will attempt to gather information about its environment, such as public IP address, language, and location. System queries and identifier websites like whatismyipaddress.com are often used for these purposes, but are easily identified by modern network monitors and antivirus. It’s important to know, however, that everyday interactions with legitimate websites provide much of the same information and are not monitored because the interactions are legitimate. In other words, threat actors can bypass automated defenses by abusing legitimate websites that often cannot be blocked for business purposes. First, cookies—easily accessible records of a user’s interactions with a webpage—are...

READ MORE

Beware of payroll-themed phishing. Here’s one example.

September 26, 2018 by Neera Desai in Threat Intelligence

Last week, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) published a public service announcement on cybercriminals disseminating payroll-themed phishing emails. These phishing emails, often imitating financial organizations, contain alluring content such as an enticing subject line or use social engineering techniques to convince targets that the email is from a legitimate source. Cofense Intelligence™ has observed payroll-themed phishing lures requesting targets to view an embedded link or download an attached file. The emails typically deliver credential phishing links or malware that is tasked with stealing the target’s financial and personal credentials. Recently, Cofense Intelligence analyzed a payroll-themed phish distributing the TrickBot...

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Staying King Krab: GandCrab Malware Keeps a Step Ahead of Network Defenses

September 21, 2018 by Aaron Riley in Malware Analysis

GandCrab ransomware is being rapidly developed to evade the cyber security community’s defense efforts, aid proliferation, and secure revenue for those driving the malware. Cofense Intelligence TM has identified a new campaign that is delivering GandCrab version 4.4, the newest iteration of this prolific ransomware. The developers of GandCrab are aware of the research analysis done on its past versions, and release new versions rapidly to negate the solutions. These malicious developers also release versions in direct correlation to specific security companies’ findings. In the last two months, the authors of GandCrab have released version 4, and subsequent 4.x releases...

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Microsoft Office Macros: Still Your Leader in Malware Delivery

September 13, 2018 by Aaron Riley in Malware Analysis

In the last month, Microsoft Office documents laden with malicious macros account have remained the malware loader-du-jour. Cofense IntelligenceTM has found they account for 45% of all delivery mechanisms analyzed.

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We’re Seeing a Resurgence of the Demonic Astaroth WMIC Trojan

September 10, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Jerome Doaty and Garrett Primm The Cofense™ Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has recently defended against a resurgence of Astaroth, with dozens of hits across our customer base in the last week. In just one week, some estimated 8,000 machines have been potentially compromised.

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Summer Reruns: Threat Actors Are Sticking with Malware that Works

September 5, 2018 by Neera Desai in Malware Analysis

Let’s take a look back at this summer’s malware trends as observed by Cofense IntelligenceTM. Summer 2018 has been marked by extremely inconsistent delivery of TrickBot and Geodo, though volumes of lower-impact malware families like Pony and Loki Bot remained consistently high. What’s more, improvements to the delivery and behavior of Geodo and TrickBot accompanied the resurgence of two updated malware families—Hermes ransomware and AZORult stealer—in reaffirming a preference by threat actors to update previous tools instead of developing new malware.  Because threat actors will continue to improve their software to ensure a successful infection, it’s important to understand these...

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Recent Geodo Malware Campaigns Feature Heavily Obfuscated Macros

August 30, 2018 by Darrel Rendell in Malware Analysis

Part 3 of 3 As we mentioned in our previous overview of Geodo, the documents used to deliver Geodo are all quite similar. Each document comes weaponised with a hostile macro. The macros are always heavily obfuscated, with junk functions and string substitutions prevalent throughout the code. The obfuscation uses three languages or dialects as part of the obfuscation process: Visual Basic, PowerShell, and Batch.

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Ask the DNC: #fakephishing Phishing Pen-Tests Are Still a Bad Idea.

August 24, 2018 by Aaron Higbee in Internet Security Awareness

Cliff notes: Phishing “tests” at best are a waste of time, and at worst, disruptive and weaken your ability to defend against real phishing.

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5 Steps to Targeting Newbies with Phishing Awareness Training

August 21, 2018 by Alexandra Wenisch in Internet Security Awareness

When it comes to phishing awareness training, new hires need special attention. While most may know what phishing is, many won’t have received formal training in recognizing and reporting a phish. This chart shows sample data from a CofenseTM customer whose newbies struggled to spot phishing emails during simulation training. Before they develop bad inbox habits, it’s important to welcome your brand-new users to your training program, especially if your company has fairly high turnover. Following are 5 tips to make the transition smoother and, ultimately, help your security teams stop phishing attacks. Step 1: Announce and Set the Stage...

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How to Get Internal Buy-In for Your Phishing Simulation and Awareness Training Programs

August 14, 2018 by Bunmi Ogun in Internet Security Awareness

If you run an anti-phishing program, you’ve probably run into this. You want to impersonate internal teams in your phishing simulations, because that’s what attackers do. But you get pushback:

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Why Customers Love Our Board Reports on Their Phishing Defense

August 8, 2018 by Professional Services Team in Internet Security Awareness

Last year, a Cofense™ customer wanted to show his board the results of his phishing-defense program. Specifically, the customer was looking for a board-report template. The customer did a quick Google search and found…nothing.  

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Cofense Shortlisted for Three UK Computing Technology Product Awards

August 3, 2018 by John Fitzgerald in Phishing

We are delighted to share the news that CofenseTM has been shortlisted for not just one but three Computing Technology Product Awards! Some of the most prestigious awards on the UK IT industry’s calendar, the Computing Technology Product Awards aim to recognise the very best in technology and shine a spotlight on the winners. Following are the categories we are shortlisted for. Best Business Security Provider This recognizes our history and reputation in defining and leading the space. Since 2007, Cofense has pioneered the phishing defense industry. While we began in phishing awareness with what was then called PhishMe Simulator™,...

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The El Camino Effect in Anti-Phishing Training

July 30, 2018 by John Robinson in Internet Security Awareness

Too often in anti-phishing training, or phishing defense in general, companies look for the wrong threats. That’s understandable to a degree, given that attackers constantly shift their tactics. But it’s a still a problem if, to use a bank heist metaphor, you’re looking for robbers who drive a Camaro vs. an El Camino. Without training based on the latest and most relevant threats, you’ll increase the odds the bad guys get away. Sometimes when that happens, users unfairly get blamed. Not cool. As anti-phishing program administrators, it’s our responsibility to empower folks to succeed. Understanding the El Camino Effect To...

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Why You Need to Keep Brands Out of Phishing Simulations

July 26, 2018 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

The top 4 brands in the world—Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook—are worth over $500B. Not the operations of those brands, not their proprietary technology, or their real estate—the brands alone. When something is that valuable, companies protect it zealously. They monitor how their brands are used and take action to defend them. Cofense stands firm on not allowing 3rd party brands or logos to be utilized in our phishing simulations without prior express permission. There are times when we may partner directly with specific brands and organizations on the official inclusion of their brand assets in simulation content where it...

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Messenger of the Bots: Hermes Malware Makes Phishing Debut

July 24, 2018 by Darrel Rendell in Malware AnalysisPhishing

For the first time ever, Cofense Intelligence™ recently observed a phishing campaign distributing the infamous Hermes ransomware. The low-volume campaign delivered .doc files, weaponized with heavily obfuscated macros. These macros reached out to an attacker-controlled server to download and execute a copy of Hermes.

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Who’s Got Access? “Value at Risk” Anti-Phishing

July 23, 2018 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 3 of 3  So far, we have looked at the concept of “value at risk” (VAR) and how it applies to anti-phishing. We’ve seen how this model can guide your anti-phishing program by focusing on the value of assets you protect. We’ve also examined ways to translate your organization’s data to dollars, which is useful if you’re responsible for data oversight and governance—in other words, it helps to know where data might live and the (estimated) value of digital assets should a breach occur.  

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Data to Dollars: “Value at Risk” Anti-Phishing Strategies

July 16, 2018 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 2 of 3 Last week,  we looked at the concept of “value at risk” (VAR) and how it applies to anti-phishing. This week let’s do a deep-dive into the “value” aspect of VAR. We’ll ask: do you know where your crown-jewel data is stored and how much it might be worth? Even if the answer is “Not exactly,” an educated guess can help set anti-phishing priorities.

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