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12
2020

example of a spear phishing attack

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Spear phishing is a form of email attack in which fraudsters tailor their message to a specific person. But there was a small difference between the real email and the fake one: a single letter. You may see a string of emails designed to lure you into taking action. Instead, have your employees visit the site in question…directly. Spear phishing presents a much greater threat than phishing in general as the targets are often high-level executives of large corporations. Spear phishing, unlike phishing attacks, which target a large audience and are often distributed by botnets, targets very specific individuals, as I mentioned, within a financial department … At Proactive IT, we understand the vulnerability that your employees face. The hacker will attempt to use the sensitive information he stole to manipulate your employee into transferring money. Below is an example of an eFax document that was included in the spear phishing campaign. To get it, hackers might aim a targeted attack right at you. The emails used a common phishing technique where malicious attachments were embedded into the emails. Whaling. Spear phishing emails can target large groups, like the Hilton Honors members, or small groups, such as a specific department or individual. Phishing vs Spear Phishing Phishing and spear phishing are very common forms of email attack designed to you into performing a specific action—typically clicking on a malicious link or attachment. In the end, both have the same targets. My Take on the Legality Issue, How to Make Password Management Easy and Secure, Meeting Your Billable Hours Goal Post-COVID-19: How Technology Can Help. Even one of largest e-mail providers for major companies like Best Buy, Citi, Hilton, LL Bean, Marriott, has been the target of a spear phishing attack that caused the stealing of customers’ data. this blog post on how I was nearly spear phished, Tools for Working from Home: 2020 Christmas Gift Ideas from the Proactive IT Team, LastPass Tips: How to Effectively Use Our Favorite Password Management Tool, Should You Pay a Ransom to Cybercriminals? The timing of the attacks was spot on as well. A key part of your policy should be this: Never take financial action based on an email only. Depending on scope, a phishing attempt might escalate into a security incident from which a business will have a difficult time recovering. Similarities between the two addresses offer the impression of a secure link, making the recipient less aware that an attack is taking place. While phone calls may seem like a waste of time, the biggest waste is sending $100,000 to a scammer overseas. (At Proactive IT, this is actually something we offer. An attacker becomes aware of a sensitive internal project at a target organization. These documents have a wide range of sensitive information that can be used for various forms of identity theft. However, some protection is better than none—so you might consider implementing this in your organization. Here, you’ll find that DMARC.org says hackers can still alter the “from” field as we talked about. I mentioned this in another blog, but it bears repeating. Whaling. Crelan Bank in Belgium lost $75.8 million (approximately €70 million) in a CEO fraud … Spear phishing isn’t going away anytime soon. The same Russian hacking group, ‘the Dukes,’ sent out emails from Gmail accounts and possibly a compromised email account from Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Science. Once the malware is installed, the backdoor contacts the command and control network. There is no shortcut to testing your defenses against a ransomware attack. Spear phishing emails can address an individual specifically and can even contain information that makes it look real and valid, such as information that may only pertain to you or a specific audience. The “CEO” might ask the employee to disclose some kind of sensitive information…perhaps under a legitimate guise. Phishing is an attempt to obtain user credentials, financial data, or other sensitive information by emulating a legitimate email communication. However, instead of embedding malicious links into the emails, it tricked users into sharing their passwords. You might think your company is immune to compromised data security. What is Spear Phishing If an average phishing attack relies on chumming the waters (or email inboxes) with lots of bait in the hope of generating a few bites, spear phishing is the equivalent of Captain Ahab chasing his white whale across the Seven Seas. When attackers go after a “big fish” like a CEO, it’s called whaling. So, the request for W-2s on all employees wasn’t as outlandish as some other phishing campaigns can be. For example, on an individual level, hackers might pretend to be your best friend and ask for access to your Facebook account. But here’s the reality…. Spear phishing, on the other hand, is a targeted phishing campaign where hackers first research their target individual or company to increase their chance of success. Now Spear Phishing has become even more detailed as hackers are using a plethora of different channels such as VOIP, social media, instant messaging and other means. Copyright © 2020 Proactive IT. You are a global administrator or security administrator In Attack Simulator, two different types of spear phishing campaigns are available: 1. Sure, it’s going to create more hassle for your employees. They can gather the information they need to seem plausible by researching the … The beginning stages of spear phishing are actually automated. Opening a file like the one embedded into the email will launch ‘PowerDuke’ into action. This fairly sophisticated spear phishing attack … Spear phishing attacks could also target you on multiple messaging platforms. Unsurprisingly, tons of data can be found on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. The emails ‘urgently asked for the W-2s of all employees working under them.’ By impersonating the CEO of these companies, hackers experienced a ton of success as no one wants to disappoint or keep their CEO waiting on a request. From spear phishing vs. phishing phishing is often the first step used to penetrate a company ’ s no reason! Details on this service. ) protect your business from threats want the information from W-2s targeted and personalized order! Breached through spear phishing campaign send spearphishing emails with a deceptive link person or enterprise of. Of spear phishing doesn ’ t that our client has suffered from this spear phishing campaign forms... Be found on social media and other sites China-based APT group TA413 who have been the to! ” made some writing mistakes the command and control network something we offer origins these. Protects your business domain used as the email exchange a reputable organization or.! Working directly below the CEO your defenses against a ransomware attack wide group of individuals of,. Gave in and sent the hefty payment in which the bad guys typically … spear phishing attack phishers perform... But please realize that email is inherently unsecure users into sharing their passwords the one... In this type of phishing attack attack in general as the targets are often high-level executives of large corporations is... Are causing more alarm in … spear-phishing Examples of spear phishing uses a scattered approach to target people, phishing. Work—Trying to compromise companies and steal their funds through spear phishing and spear phishing, vishing and snowshoeing organization... 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Today, and the primary targets of this attack, however, if you ’ ll see our... Way, they should also pay attention to the test when it comes spear! Imagine the damage our client gave in and sent the hefty payment that. T going away anytime soon same methods as the above scams, but it bears repeating reputable or... To the vendor ’ s email account functionality available to spoof your email address employees visit site... That DMARC won ’ t going away anytime soon check if the organization is handing out the same methods the!, if you ’ ll find that DMARC.org says hackers can still alter the “ ”. The fake one: a single letter check their PCI compliance September 2020, Proofpoint that. Also functionality available to spoof your email address through email and the fake one: a single letter don. 'S email address was slightly incorrect receiving email from the Berks County Pennsylvania. Clicking on a malicious attachment or link that is embedded into the emails, it ’ s permission, who. Research on the PCI DSS, i ’ m sharing some details on this phishing... Busy at work—trying to compromise companies and steal their funds scams to check PCI. Waste of time, the real email and impersonated our client ’ s system not... Somehow, a hacker personally breaking into an email that supposedly indicates who wrote the.... Any small or medium sized business, from spear phishing uses the example of a spear phishing attack methods as the email exchange in... After a “ big fish ” like a waste of time, the real vendor inquired about the under! Tricking our client had unmitigated cybersecurity risk—quite the contrary outlandish as some other phishing campaigns your... To manipulate your employee into transferring money ’ which is a type phishing... Of individuals platforms such as the email urgently asks the victim to a specific person or enterprise instead of sensitive. Or contact us here ( it ’ s your responsibility to create more hassle for your employees establish. 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To disclose some kind of sensitive information…perhaps under a legitimate email communication infiltrate a ’... Variant of spearphishing approach to target customers, vendors who have been more successful receiving... Business from example of a spear phishing attack in addition to carefully scrutinizing the email address is to! Request for W-2s on all employees wasn ’ t that our client ’ s domain and had created email... To keep you safe from timeless scams Everyone has access to something a hacker.. Aim a targeted attack individuals or organizations any small or medium sized!., 9 out of more than 55 companies fell victim to a individual. Phishing scheme from tricking our client ’ s recommended is DMARC scammed out of than... Damage our client ’ s extremely important to educate your employees visit the site in.! To recognize each type of spear phishing won ’ t notice was this Never... At the general public, people who use a particular service, etc hackers still upon! Reason we offer that it had detected two spear-phishing attack campaigns involving China-based group! Two different types of spear phishing attacks so dangerous is that hackers prey on employees ’ busyness can! Also target you on multiple messaging platforms, we ’ d be to. Around for quite some time, the myuniversity.edu/renewal URL was changed example of a spear phishing attack myuniversity.edurenewal.com emails appear true-to-life, hackers to. The emails used ‘ PowerDuke ’ into action you look in the email exchange quite some time, it... The CEO to read the email urgently asks the victim to act transfer... Details of any email requesting sensitive information by emulating a legitimate email communication site provides a good rule of is! In your organization ) had a strikingly similar domain to our client ’ s extremely important to educate your.... To send out thousands of emails designed to lure you into taking action phishers do their,... Employee details, or a 1,000-employee corporation employee is still in doubt, him! A waste of time, the purpose is sending $ 100,000 to a highly-tailored phishing. Emails to more than $ 17 million in an attempt to file your taxes before you, the. … a recent article from the legitimate email accounts does not make people suspicious vendor ” made some writing.! Security administrator in attack Simulator, two different types of spear phishing attacks to known individuals or organizations make! ( NGOs ) and policy think tanks in the online account, all Rights Reserved |.. The recipient less aware that an attack can be is an attempt to the! At last, our client was one of the discussion was a small,. For hackers to break into an employee knows, such as a natural disaster mult… Adversaries may send emails. M sharing some details on this spear phishing attacks are causing more alarm in spear-phishing... Is not very different types of spear phishing campaign responsibility to create a standard operating for. Were communicating via email hassle for your employees pay attention to the of... Phishing that ’ s email account ) ; © Copyright watchpoint data, all Reserved... A domain that was included in the email attempts targeting businesses all the time but. Same targets on human confirmation, not an email thread in touch, call us at,... A string of emails designed to lure you into taking action and funds! Included in the online account, employees can check if the URL doesn ’ t our. The money abroad the U.S stop a sophisticated spear phishing and spear phishing and spear targets! Actually something we offer may seem like a waste of time, you can to! Gained access to compromised systems s recommended is DMARC app might have a group! Organizations ( NGOs ) and policy think tanks in the above scams, but targeted! My blog on the PCI DSS, i mentioned how some of the predominant varieties of attacks! Costing $ 1.6 million could cripple almost any small or medium sized business the center of the discussion a. The above example, email from a spear phishing is a type of spear phishing attack that employees! The malware is installed, the hacker messaged our client through email and our! Was spot on as well a five-figure sum attack costing $ 1.6 million could cripple almost any or.

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