Tag Archives: Anti-Phishing training

German firms lost millions of euros in ‘CEO Fraud’ scam: BSI

23 July 2017

The report ‘German firms lost millions of euros in ‘CEO Fraud’ scam: BSI’ published in the Reuters Technology News on 10 July 2017 makes me really worry. Whaling, a special form of spear phishing aimed on corporate executives, is not new at all. For some samples see this slide show on CIO.com.

It appears to me that in Germany the first line of defense, the employees, are not adequately prepared in the detection and the correct handling of phishing attacks, even though anti-phishing training is the most effective and cost efficient defensive measure in the fight against all kinds of phishing.

In addition, some rules are helpful and should be communicated to all employees:

  1. Users should never act on a business request from a company executive if the email is not signed with a company owned and valid email certificate.
  2. Users should never trust an email of a business partner if it is not signed with the partners valid email certificate.

Technical implementation is very easy, thus even SMB can use email signing in daily communication.

Have a great week.

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You may Wanna Cry on Monday morning if your Anti-Phishing Training was no success

14 May 2017

In the past days WannaCry was making the headlines. I found a really well written post on Binary Defense which explains the basics of the initial infection as well as the propagation method.

WannaCry does not use any heavy sophistication methods for delivery. It first uses a password protected zip file, which has a document inside.

Packaged this way anti-malware solutions cannot scan the attachment because they can’t enter the password for opening the attachment, although it is stated in the email body. Even APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) solutions may fail if they are not properly configured.

If your Anti-Phishing Awareness Training was successful, the chance of an infection is small.

In addition, it makes sense to block incoming mails with zip files, which cannot be inspected by the anti-malware solution. Don’t deliver them to the users junk mail folder, block them on the mail gateway.

This gives you the time to implement patch MS17-010, if you have not yet done so. Or isolate the affected systems from the network, if patching is not possible, e.g. in GxP controlled environments.

Take care!

Whaling emerges as major cybersecurity threat

3 December 2016

Whaling is a type of cyber fraud that targets mainly corporate executives. It is very closely related with phishing, thus not new. For a superb collection of examples see this slide show published on CIO.com.

As always, the combination of People, Process and Technology measures (PPT approach) is the best way to combat whaling:

People. The most effective way to deal with whaling is security awareness training. Include some whaling attacks in your anti-phishing training to raise awareness.

Processes. Enhance your information handling policy (IHP) or office manual. Add rules for the compliant handling of business requests by email:

  1. Users should never act on a business request from a company executive if the email is not signed with a company owned and valid email certificate.
  2. Never trust an email of a business partner when it is not signed with the partners valid email certificate.

Communicate the IHP to all users and train them in use and handling of email certificates.

Technology. Configure your email system such that all mails to external partners and at least all emails from company executives are signed with a valid email certificate.

With this, the risk of getting the victim of a whaling attack is greatly reduced.

Have a good weekend.