In 2017, spear-phishing emails were the most widely used infection method, employed by 71% of hacker groups which carried out cyber attacks. Given their highly personalized nature, these attacks are far more difficult to prevent as compared to regular phishing scams. As phishers up their game in terms of both the frequency and capabilities of their attacks, HR and organizations’ security functions must work together to achieve more than awareness. BEC attacks often involve tricking the victim into transferring funds to accounts under attackers’ control, and fraudsters have three main vehicles for “cashing out” in this way. InfoSec, Risk, and Privacy Strategist - Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2019 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index Report, Business Email Compromise: The $26 Billion Scam, fake unusual sign-in activity notifications, incident response and investigation processes, The structure of the organization — who works where and to whom they report, The various tools, skills and knowledge bases staff use routinely, The processes in place at that particular organization or location, Review your organization’s social engineering footprint, especially on the topics of structure, processes and software. Phishing attacks have been increasing steadily throughout 2019. Some spear phishing attack examples include: Irony struck the security giant RSA in March 2011 when the systems behind the EMC division’s flagship SecurID 2-factor authentication product were compromised using spear phishing. Generally set passwords that are a minimum of 12 to 14 characters in length. Recent statistics from numerous sources point to an increase in the level of phishing activity and sophistication, as well as a heightened impact on organizations in terms of money stolen, data held for ransom and intellectual property pilfered. Consider also whether your password is unique, and, critically, whether you will be able to remember it. Avoid using one password for all your accounts. The report, titled Spear Phishing: Top Threats and Trends Vol. Europol warns that there is a wealth of at-risk information online about organizations and specific employees, such as top-level managers and finance or payroll staff. For example, the APWG reported that by the end of 2019, 68 percent of all phishing sites used SSL protection — up from around 10 percent in Q1 2017 — so telling users to look for SSL/TLS visual clues in websites is no longer an effective strategy by itself. With this form of attack, a hidden malware in a link triggers a download. There is a running theme in the reports from the APWG and Europol and the warnings from the FBI/IC3: Take phishing seriously and review your preparations now. The perpetrators usually disguise themselves as trustworthy entities and then make contact with their target through email, phone calls (also called vishing for voice phishing), social media and even text messages (also called smishing for SMS-phishing). If there is no prior knowledge or spear phishing protection in place, attackers can easily target victims who put personal information on the internet. Some key recommendations from the Europol report are as follows: Email and social media keep us connected to our friends, families, employers and favorite brands. These emails carried a virus that could potentially compromise government computers and result in sending sensitive data about US nuclear weapon program to foreign governments. The stronger our technical defenses become, the more threat actors look to target the human dimension of security. Judging by the amount of activity, the phishing industry is a thriving business. But there are ways to actually protect yourself against spear phishing. Be careful and meticulous about what you post online. As the APWG noted, the preferred method was to ask for gift cards (56 percent), with another 25 percent moving funds via payroll diversion and 19 percent via direct transfers. »Don't assume that you're too smart to fall for a spear phishing attack. This phishing attack apparently had a political motive and was launched by a hacker group named Guardians of Peace, which the US investigators traced back to North Korea. Targets have In the release, titled “Business Email Compromise: The $26 Billion Scam,” the FBI shared sobering statistics about just how effective BEC fraud has become. It is almost impossible to protect against spear phishing considering the number of nuances and intricacies that go into the planning and execution. BEC scams accounted for over $12 billion in losses (FBI) Phishing attempts have grown 65% in the last year. One of the most prominent examples of spear phishing in the public sector involves the case of Charles Harvey Eccleston who pleaded guilty to sending out emails to U.S Department of Energy employees. Targeted spear phishing attacks are carefully designed to go undetected. address directly into your browser to get to your Globally, there were over 150,000 victims, with more than 26 billion dollars at stake. I'm sorry, but in order to complete what you're trying to do, you must be logged in. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Subscribe to get our Daily Fix delivered to you inbox 5 days a week, » Email Marketing Services Company Epsilon Breach. 72% of COVID-19-related attacks are scamming. Spear phishing may sound simple, but the attack emails have greatly improved in the last few years and are now extremely difficult to detect. This involves constantly educating the users about what spear phishing attacks are, and how to guard against them. Most of the phishing emails being sent are part of large campaigns sent randomly using huge lists of email addresses, but not all. Because phishing is a means to an end, one common follow-up that’s often observed alongside a phishing campaign is business email compromise (BEC). Just how susceptible are people to phishing and spear phishing? Organizations and individuals must remain vigilant for spear phishing and BEC attacks by combining awareness with robust security controls and processes that boost overall cyber resilience. If you are suspicious about links, don’t click on them. According to a new market research report published by Acute Market Reports “Global Spear Phishing Protection Market – Growth, Future Prospects, and Competitive Analysis,2019 – 2027”, the overall spear phishing protection market has been registered a market value of US$ 923.65 Mn in 2018 and is set to grow with a CAGR of 11.60 % during the forecast period. Phishing is social engineering using digital channels. Phishing is the act of sending emails that falsely claim to be from a legitimate organization. Security firm Trend Micro estimated that spear phishing accounted for 91% of cyberattacks. Username and password do not match or you do not have an account yet. Even though RSA managed to spot the attack in progress, the attackers still managed to steal sensitive data from RSA’s network. Like the APWG’s statistics, Europol’s findings show that the number of phishing websites has reached new record levels. Some of the campaigns are far more targeted and are sent to only a handful of individuals – To individuals in a specific department in a company, for instance. 84% of SMBs Targeted by Phishing Attacks And they are all being abused for phishing attacks. Phishing attacks jump by 21% in latest quarter, says Kaspersky by Lance Whitney in Security on August 29, 2019, 6:36 AM PST The number of worldwide phishing attacks detected by … As a result, EC3 organised a Joint Advisory Group meeting from 26 – 27 March 2019 at Europol to discuss what industry and law enforcement can do For this reason, users must invest in the right technology that is purpose-built for such multi-dimensional threat protection. Clicking on the link would take the user to a spoof site that then harvested personal information. Sony did have to cancel the release in theaters but managed to release a digital copy of the movie instead. The most successful type of phishing attack is the so-called spear-phishing attack, which is specifically aimed at individuals or certain companies. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Europol noted that 65 percent of targeted attacks involved spear phishing as the primary infection vector. Healthcare data is apparently worth more on the black market than even financial data and could have potentially resulted in profits of millions of dollars for perpetrators. Lancaster University students’ personal data stolen in phishing attack. The best passwords are a mix of numbers, special characters and a mix of upper and lower case letters. There are several different types of phishing attacks, and the type the scammers use depends on their end goal. spear phishing attack. The health insurance giant Anthem experienced a devastating phishing attack in 2015, which resulted in the theft of private data of over 35.5 million customers and key employees including that of Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish. a targeted attempt to steal sensitive information such as account credentials or financial information from a specific victim The reason it stood out was how the story was told; it wasn’t just a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo that is tough to decipher. They go through such individuals' profiles to get their email addresses, geographic locations and friends lists. But much of the advice which was common as recently as five years ago is no longer sufficient. To fight spear phishing scams, employees need to be aware of the threats, such as the possibility of bogus emails landing in their inbox. Let's discuss some terms first. Phishing Activity Trends Report, 3rd Quarter 2019 ! For each month from July to September 2019, they reported over 80,000 phishing sites, with three-quarters of all attacks targeting just three industry sectors: SaaS/webmail (33 … The same survey also indicates that 86% of respondents reported dealing with business email compromise (BEC) attacks. Without proper protocol and security measures in place, a targeted attack could spell disaster for your organisation. 1. to assess the state of health of your data protection program. Targeted spear phishing attacks are carefully designed to go undetected. The latest estimate from ProofPoint’s State of the Phish 2020 report indicates that nearly 90% surveyed organizations faced spear phishing attacks in 2019. The attack took the form of a phishing email that was opened by five employees and which resulted in the download of keystroke logging software. This is usually combined with a threat or request for information: for example, that an account will close, a balance is due or information is missing from an account. Come 2019, cyber criminals have upped their game and according to new research, cyber criminals will continue to target end users. There is no fixed script that can be followed against spear phishing protection, but the following best practices are highly recommended. One of the most famous data breach attacks with spear phishing was with Anthem, a healthcare insurer. To avoid raising suspicion and increase their chance of success, spear phishing campaigns tend to seek critical information related to three key aspects of a target organization: Extensive use of job advertising sites and social media platforms by organizations and employees alike can make the process of assembling this information much easier and faster than it would have been just a decade ago. Barracuda’s research reveals key takeaways about how these targeted attacks are evolving and the approaches cybercriminals are using to maximize their impact. Of course, these are just a few examples of prominent attacks that made it to the front pages of the Internet. Presenting the users with the anatomy of a typical spear phishing attack and outlining the pitfalls of falling victim can make users more vigilant in dealing with emails involving links and calls to action. Cybercriminals use various techniques to monitor emails, file sharing, and internet browsing activities of target users to meticulously gather background information. Via phishing emails, the attackers managed to install malware and steal sensitive information about Sony Pictures and its employees, a large selection of unreleased films and then managed to permanently delete from a large part of Sony’s infrastructure. highly popular type of cyber attacks is the The City of Naples says the cyber attack that resulted in the loss of $700,000 was a "sophisticated" spear phishing strategy. The largest form of phishing attacks, at 51%, is a malware attack. One year after the arrest made in Spain, spear phishing is still one of the most common and most dangerous attack vectors seen by both, law enforcement and industry. 15% of people successfully phished will be targeted at least one more time within the year. Students and undergraduate applicants to Lancaster University had their personal details stolen in a pair of breaches that were disclosed on 22 July 2019. 12. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. The average financial cost of a data breach is $3.86m (IBM) Phishing accounts for 90% of data breaches. This is measured by the share of users whose Anti-Phishing solutions were triggered by users in those countries. (Source: Varonis ) In Q1 of 2019, 21.7% of all phishing attempts Kaspersky Labs tracked were aimed at Brazilian users. Chris Veltsos is a professor in the Department of Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he regularly teaches Information ... read more. In September 2019, the FBI issued a rare warning about BEC attacks via its IC3 reporting center. With regard to cyber espionage, phishing was used in 78 percent of cases. The attack involved an email with a link to a malicious site which resulted in downloading of Win32.BlkIC.IMG, which disabled anti-virus software, a Trojan keylogger called iStealer, that was used to steal passwords, and an administration tool called CyberGate, which was used to gain complete remote control of compromised systems. For example, the website, Europol has indicated that many organizations are simply unprepared to investigate spear phishing and BEC incidents adequately. In 2018, reports of credential compromise rose 70% over 2017, and they’ve soared 280% since 2016. If BEC attacks have been getting a lot more coverage in 2019, it’s because there has been an uptick in activity and in losses reported by businesses and individuals. 72% of COVID-19-related attacks … The email will ask the recipient to supply confidential information, such as bank account details, PINs or passwords; these details are then used by the originators of the phishing email to conduct fraud. I recommend a storage and data protection assessment be conducted twice a year The attackers also demanded that Sony also withdraw its film The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco with a story plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and threatened terrorist attacks at cinemas screening the film. Once this information is provided, the attacker can use it to gain access into such individuals' bank accounts or even steal an identity to create a new one using the information obtained. Phishing is an all encompassing word for all forms of online attack in an attempt to get victims to share sensitive information about themselves. From a global law enforcement perspective, Europol recently released a report focused on spear phishing that noted how “spear phishing is still one of the most common and most dangerous attack vectors.” The report further detailed how one organized criminal group caused over 1 billion dollars in losses to the financial services industry by leveraging spear phishing as part of their activities to move money via ATM withdrawals and wire transfers. The attacker would … The email advised that the hosts could not accept any more bookings until they accept compliance with GDPR policy from Airbnb. The longer the password is, the harder it will be to crack. 83% of global infosec respondents experienced phishing attacks in 2018, an increase from 76% in 2017. Proofpoint’s 2019 State of the Phish Report found that 83% of respondents were hit by at least one spear phishing attack in last year. Use logic when opening email, and do not click links in emails. The 2019 report — our fifth annual — has been significantly expanded, offering more data and analysis than ever before. In this attack, scammers used social engineering techniques to identify Airbnb host targets who were sent out fake emails about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implications. A phishing mail is quickly opened and an attachment with malware downloaded or private payment data entered in an input form and voila: the phishing attack is a full success. Business email compromise attacks, for example, are also known as whaling, CEO fraud, or wire-transfer fraud. This information enables highly effective spear phishing attacks that can result in “much greater damage overall.” According to Europol, “one successful attempt can be enough to compromise a whole organization.”. I personally suggest making © 2020 Equities News | Equities.com, Inc. * All dates and time are being displayed in Eastern Standard Time (EST). 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