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Hook, line and sinker

Phishing continues to proliferate

Did you think phishing campaigns were passé? Well, what’s past is prologue. Phishing attacks, which have increased 30 percent in each of the last three years, are still responsible for most data breaches. Here’s how to understand and prevent them from crippling your organization.

The SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) reported that the North Korean cybergang, Lazarus, targeted financial executives of cryptocurrency companies with the lure of a job opening for a chief financial officer at another cryptocurrency firm. The cyberfraudsters successfully infiltrated scores of computers via enticing emails. When victims opened Word attachments in the phishing emails they were presented with a pop-up message encouraging them to accept “Enable Editing” and “Enable Content” functions. The document then embedded a malicious macro that created a separate professional-looking, LinkedIn-style, CFO job-lure document and installed a remote-access Trojan [through which the fraudsters could download additional malware to steal cryptocurrency and personally identifiable information (PII)]. (See Secureworks Discovers North Korean Cyber Threat Group, Lazarus Spearfishing … Dec. 15, 2017.)

This spear-phishing attack is representative of the many types of phishing that hacking gangs and other cybercriminals use to invade networks of organizations and individuals to find vulnerabilities in software and gain access to PII so they can reap in the money and engage in other fraudulent activity.

Because they’re so successful and lucrative, phishing attacks are responsible for most data breaches (probably explaining why they hit a record high of 1,579 in 2017, which represented a 44.7 percent increase over the record high in 2016, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center).

Phishing, which remains the most commonly exploited of all vector attacks, accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of all successful cyberattacks worldwide, according to the Ironscales 2017 Email Security Report.


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