So, you want to improve your response to phishing threats? Smart idea. PhishMe®’s recent report on phishing response trends shows that phishing is the #1 security concern, but almost half of organizations say they’re not ready for an attack.
PhishMe® and IBM have teamed up to provide security operations with essentials for their phishing defense program. Security teams don’t want standalone security products; they need holistic security solutions and through partner integrations.
That’s why PhishMe and IBM have partnered to help enterprise businesses defend against credential-stealing, malware, ransomware, and Business Email Compromise (BEC) phishing.
Part 1 in our series on being “Left of Breach” in the Phishing Kill Chain.
Too often in the information/cyber security industry, we focus our efforts on mitigation of breaches after they occur, relying on incident response teams to find the needles in the haystack.
According to “Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life,” (by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley; Foreword by Steven Pressfield) The Marine’s Combat Hunter training program works on this premise: by understanding what “normal” looks like, we are much more likely to recognize activities and behaviors that are out of place. That recognition, even if based on “gut feel,” becomes the trigger for acting. This approach relies heavily on front-line human assets, not just automation or artificial intelligence, to detect attacks in progress. Most important, it lets you get in front of breaches before they blow up in your face.
Get “Left of Breach.”
In the Marine’s case, it’s acting to get “Left of Bang,” as in bombs and bullets. In anti-phishing programs, it’s getting Left of Breach—taking proactive steps instead of accepting that hackers and other malicious actors will succeed no matter what. In the figure below, it’s everything left of the bullseye.
With a few modifications, the standard security industry kill chain can resemble the Marine Combat Hunter approach.
As you can see in the Phishing Kill Chain above, we focus on baselining an organization and developing human threat reporters throughout the first four steps. This provides 2 things: a starting point for risk analysis and development of targeted simulations (Enumeration, Design, Delivery); and the development of HUMINT (human intelligence), data collection and reporting of suspicious material to incident response teams.
As your anti-phishing program matures, you’ll combine the data your employees report with human-vetted phishing intelligence feeds in Triage. The net: actionable intelligence enabling you to mitigate threats before they happen.
5 steps to getting there:
- Be transparent and educate users on standard phishing clues and the purpose of the program.
- NOTE: Program transparency is key to your success. It builds enthusiasm for the program and a sense of ownership and positive engagement with the organization’s security process.
- Baseline your organization’s technical and business process weaknesses for targeting during initial simulations.
- Execute diverse simulations and analyze for risk level (e.g. – high susceptibility to active threats)
- Design follow-up simulations based on known deficiencies and analysis of initial results.
- Stress the importance of reporting in all simulations and awareness activities.
Taking these simple steps is the quickest, most effective way to protect against phishing. Ready to get Left of Breach? Booyah!
Next: part 2 of our “Left of Breach” series examines the first step in the Phishing Kill Chain, Self-Enumeration.
Stay on top of recent phishing and malware threats and attacks trends, delivered straight to your inbox completely free. Subscribe to PhishMe® Threat Alerts today.
Cybercriminals continue to successfully hack and spoof emails to impersonate supervisors, CEOs, and suppliers and then request seemingly legitimate business payments. Because the emails look authentic and seem to come from known authority figures, many employees comply. But later they discover they’ve been tricked into wiring money or depositing checks into criminals’ bank accounts.
When it comes to cyberattacks, small businesses are big targets. That’s why we recently introduced PhishMe® Free, a no-cost, easy-to-use version of our award-winning anti-phishing simulation solution.
It’s easy to believe that phishing only happens to people who aren’t smart enough to detect it. This simply isn’t true. As the tech-savvy developers at software company a9t9 have indicated in their statement about a phishing incident last week, even smart developers can be fooled with a phish.
As reported by Tripwire, a Chrome plugin developer fell for a phishing attack that allowed the threat actor to take control of a9t9’s account in the Chrome Store. This means that the Copyfish plugin built by a9t9 was no longer under its control. Meanwhile, the plugin has already been used to “insert ads/spam into websites” according to the statement by a9t9.
The original phishing message that lured the developer carried a link on the URL shortening service called Bit.ly. As Tripwire explained, the victim did not notice the odd link because he was viewing the message in webmail. However, in the screenshot of the message in its text format, the Bit.ly link is clearly-visible. One of the great features of Bit.ly for those creating “bitlinks” is that you can view statistics about the locations and user agents of who clicks on your link. Others can also see a few stats by appending a plus (+) sign to the end of the URL. Below is what we saw when we did this:
The stats tell us that the bitlink was created on July 28th and leads to a URL on rdr11.top, a domain first registered on that same day via NameCheap but under privacy protection. Once the victim clicked on the link, he was redirected to the rdr11.top URL which itself then redirected to a URL on chrome-extensions.top, to the page seen below:
The domain chrome-extensions.top was also registered via NameCheap using privacy protection on July 28th.
The rdr11.top and chrome-extensions.top hosts resolve to Saint Petersburg, Russia, IP address 18.104.22.168, part of a /23 net block owned by Moscow Selectel Service.
Also known to resolve to have resolved to 22.214.171.124 is the domain chrome-extensions.pro, registered July 21st with NameCheap, using privacy protection.
A third resolution to the same IP, 126.96.36.199, was the phishy-sounding domain cloudflaresupport.site, also registered via NameCheap under privacy protection, on July 18th. A similar domain, cloudflaresupport.info, was registered with NameCheap on June 21st and even used the Cloudflare service for phishing Cloudflare accounts, but it is now under Cloudflare’s control. See the tweet below that included screenshots of the phishing message and spoofed Cloudflare login page:
— Lawrence Abrams (@LawrenceAbrams) June 21, 2017
In the Comments of that tweet are screenshots showing further redirection to a Google login phishing page on webstoresupport.top, registered with NameCheap using privacy protection on June 20th. Other comments reveal that on June 21st CloudFlare actively engaged the customer support software ticketing service being used by the threat actor to send the phishing messages, FreshDesk. However, a9t9’s statement mentions that FreshDesk was still being used on July 28th when the a9t9 developer was lured in by a phishing email message.
There are some lessons that can be learned about two factor authentication for such important accounts as your Chrome Store or Cloudflare logins; however, the main issue here is that the victim was not even thinking about the possibility of phishing while responding to his email messages. Phishing, now commonly used against all types of accounts and for increasingly-creative purposes, is known to be the number one way that attackers breach our critical processes, steal our intellectual property, and bring businesses to a screeching halt. We can also thank a9t9 for owning up to its mistakes so that we can all learn from them. Their share helps us to connect the dots and discover more about the phisher and his methods and infrastructure.
You can use PhishMe to make sure your employees know how to recognize, report, and respond to these growing threats.
Threat actors’ consistent pursuit of improved efficiency is a key characteristic of the phishing threat landscape. One method for improving efficiency is to use a unique delivery technique that not only allows threat actors to distribute malware but also succeeds in evading anti-virus software and technologies.