[Webinar On-Demand] Security Awareness During Times of Disruption

A recent report reveals a massive 667% increase in spear-phishing attacks due to the current pandemic, with over 9000 phishing attack campaigns, related to COVID-19, being detected in March versus just over 1100 in February and only 137 in January. These attacks are taking on all forms including; brand impersonation, business email compromise, scams and even blackmail. *

Organisations like yours have asked traditional office-based employees to work from home. The potential for cyber criminals to get your users to react to these types of spear-phishing attacks is high due to the coronavirus theme being exploited and all organisations need to ensure their users remain vigilant.

Is your newly formed remote workforce armed with the knowledge to keep themselves and your network safe? Watch our webinar below and learn:

  • About the tactics the bad guys are using now to exploit COVID-19
  • Why remote workers are an easy target for cyber criminals
  • How to enable your last line of defence with tools and training
  • Why security awareness training is critical within your security strategy

Now more than ever Security Awareness Training is vital for your remote employees and your network.

* Source: Barracuda Sentinel [https://blog.barracuda.com/2020/03/26/threat-spotlight-coronavirus-related-phishing/]

2020 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report from KnowBe4

As cybercrime continues to surge, security leaders must understand that there is no such thing as a perfect, fool-proof, impenetrable secure environment. Many organisations fall into the trap of trying to use technology as the only means of defending their networks and forgetting that the power of human awareness and intervention is paramount in arriving to a highly secured state.

Every security leader faces the same conundrum: even as they increase their investment in sophisticated security orchestration, cybercrime continues to rise. Security is often presented as a race between effective technologies and clever attack methodologies. Yet there’s an overlooked layer that can radically reduce an organisation’s vulnerability: security awareness training and frequent simulated social engineering testing.

Verizon’s 2019 data breach investigation report shows that phishing remains the #1 threat action used in successful breaches linked to social engineering and malware attacks.

These criminals successfully evade an organisation’s security controls by using clever phishing and social engineering tactics that often rely on employee naivety. Emails, phone calls and other outreach methods are designed to persuade staff to take steps that provide criminals with access to company data and funds.

Each organisation’s employee susceptibility to these phishing attacks is known as their Phish-Prone™ percentage (PPP). By translating phishing risk into measurable terms, leaders can quantify their breach likelihood and adopt training that reduces their human attack surface.

Do you know how your organisation compares to your peers of similar size? Download the KnowBe4 benchmarking report to find out! 

You will learn more about:

  • New phishing benchmark data for 19 industries
  • Understanding who’s at risk and what you can do about it
  • Actionable tips to create your “human firewall”
  • The value of new-school security awareness training

Exponential growth of COVID-19 themed phishing attacks. Are your users prepared?

A new report reveals a massive 667% increase in spear-phishing attacks due to the current pandemic, with over 9000 phishing attack campaigns, related to COVID-19, being detected in March versus just over 1100 in February and only 137 in January. These attacks are taking on all forms including; brand impersonation, business email compromise, scams and even blackmail. *

Many organisations like yours have asked traditional office-based employees to work from home and while technology allows that to happen, is your newly formed remote workforce armed with the knowledge to keep themselves and your network safe?

The potential for cyber criminals to get access to your users and to elicit a response to these types of spear-phishing attacks is high due to the coronavirus theme being exploited and all organisations need to ensure their users remain vigilant.

Now more than ever Security Awareness Training is critical for your remote employees.

  • Cyber-attacks focus on employees as targets – Phishing attacks remain the single-most used attack vector to allow the bad guys direct access to your organisation’s endpoints, credentials, applications, and data. If a phishing email is presented to one of your employees, it means your security solutions haven’t detected it as malicious, leaving the employee to be your last line of defence.
  • Employee’s aren’t thinking about organizational security – Think about it; your average remote worker is sitting at a make-shift desk, trying to balance helping their kids with distance learning assignments and attending online meetings. They’re learning new digital workplace platforms, applications, and processes before they even shower for the day. Security is the last thing on an employee’s mind.
  • Attacks and scams are increasingly aligning with remote working – Cybercriminals conjure up scams that seem familiar to users. The use of shipping, billing, and banking stories, as well as the use of impersonated domains, business, and people, all have traditionally worked in favour of the bad guy. But, new scams are being moulded around the current work circumstances. For example, we’ve recently seen the massive growth in Zoom-related attacks simply because of Zoom’s increase in popularity for business use. Organisations should expect this to trend.

*Source: Barracuda Sentinel https://blog.barracuda.com/2020/03/26/threat-spotlight-coronavirus-related-phishing/

What Is CEO Fraud?

CEO Fraud is a scam in which cybercriminals spoof company email accounts and impersonate executives to try and fool an employee in accounting or HR into executing unauthorised online transfers or sending out confidential tax information.

Also known as “Business Email Compromise” and BEC is defined as “a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorised transfers of funds.”

The Four Attack Methods

Understanding the different attack vectors for this type of crime is key when it comes to prevention. This is how the bad guys do it: 

1. Phishing

Phishing emails are sent to large numbers of users simultaneously in an attempt to “fish” sensitive information by posing as reputable sources—often with legitimate-looking logos attached. Banks, credit card providers, delivery firms, law enforcement, and the IRS are a few of the common ones. A phishing campaign typically shoots out emails to huge numbers of users. Most of them are to people who don’t use that bank, for example, but by sheer weight of numbers, these emails arrive at a certain percentage of likely candidates.

2. Spear Phishing

This is a much more focused form of phishing. The cybercriminal has either studied up on the group or has gleaned data from social media sites to con users. A spear phishing email generally goes to one person or a small group of people who use that bank or service. Some form of personalisation is included – perhaps the person’s name, or the name of a client.

3. Executive Whaling

Here, the bad guys target top executives and administrators, typically to siphon off money from accounts or steal confidential data. Personalisation and detailed knowledge of the executive and the business are the hallmarks of this type of fraud.

4. Social Engineering

Within a security context, social engineering means the use of psychological manipulation to trick people into divulging confidential information or providing access to funds. The art of social engineering might include mining information from social media sites. LinkedIn, Facebook and other venues provide a wealth of information about organisational personnel. This can include their contact information, connections, friends, ongoing business deals and more.

Who Are The Main Targets?

The CEO isn’t always the one in a criminal’s crosshairs. There are four other groups of employees considered valuable targets given their roles and access to funds/information:

Finance

The finance department is especially vulnerable in companies that regularly engage in large wire transfers. All too often, sloppy internal policies only demand an email from the CEO or other senior person to initiate the transfer. Cybercriminals usually gain entry via phishing, spend a few months doing recon and formulate a plan. They mirror the usual wire transfer authorization protocols, hijack a relevant email account and send the request to the appropriate person in finance to transmit the funds. As well as the CFO, this might be anyone in accounts that is authorized to transfer funds.

HR

Human Resources represents a wonderfully open highway into the modern enterprise. After all, it has access to every person in the organisation, manages the employee database and is in charge of recruitment. As such, a major function is to open résumés from thousands of potential applicants. All the cybercriminals need to do is include spyware inside a résumé and they can surreptitiously begin their early data gathering activities. In addition, W2 and PII scams have become more commonplace. HR receives requests from spoofed emails and ends up sending employee information such as social security numbers and employee email addresses to criminal organisations.

Executive Team

Every member of the executive team can be considered a high-value target. Many possess some kind of financial authority. If their email accounts are hacked, it generally provides cybercriminals access to all kinds of confidential information, not to mention intelligence on the type of deals that may be ongoing. Thus, executive accounts must receive particular attention from a security perspective.

IT

The IT manager and IT personnel with authority over access controls, password management and email accounts are further high-value targets. If their credentials can be hacked, they gain entry to every part of the organisation.

Here Are Eight Prevention Steps

Many steps must dovetail closely together as part of an effective prevention program:

  1. Identify Your High-Risk Users
  2. Institute Technical Controls
  3. Set A Security Policy
  4. Develop Standard Procedures
  5. Cyber-Risk Planning
  6. Training For All Users
  7. Continuous Simulated Phishing
  8. Stay Aware of Red Flags

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is the art of manipulating, influencing, or deceiving you in order to gain control over your computer system. The hacker might use the phone, email, snail mail or direct contact to gain illegal access. 

Phishing, spear phishing, and CEO Fraud are all examples.

What is a social engineer?

OK, so who are these people? It could be a hacker in the USA who is out to do damage or disrupt. It could be a member of an Eastern Europe cybercrime mafia that is trying to penetrate your network and steal cash from your online bank account. Or, it could be a Chinese hacker that is trying to get in your organisation’s network for corporate espionage. 

Top 10 techniques used by social engineers

Understanding the different attack vectors for this type of crime is key when it comes to prevention. This is how the bad guys do it:

  1. Pretexting – An invented scenario is used to engage a potential victim to try and increase the chance that the victim will bite. It’s a false motive usually involving some real knowledge of the victim (e.g. date of birth, Social Security number, etc.) in an attempt to get even more information.
  1. Diversion theft – A ‘con’ exercised by professional thieves, usually targeted at a transport or courier company. The objective is to trick the company into making the delivery somewhere other than the intended location.
  1. Phishing – The process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity using bulk email which tries to evade spam filters. Emails claiming to be from popular social web sites, banks, auction sites, or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. It’s a form of criminally fraudulent social engineering. Also see Spear Phishing.
  1. Spear phishing – A small, focused, targeted attack via email on a particular person or organisation with the goal to penetrate their defenses. The spear phishing attack is done after research on the target and has a specific personalised component designed to make the target do something against their own interest. 
  1. Water-holing – This technique takes advantage of websites people regularly visit and trust. The attacker will gather information about a targeted group of individuals to find out what those websites are, then test those websites for vulnerabilities. Over time, one or more members of the targeted group will get infected and the attacker can gain access to the secure system.
  1. Baiting – Baiting means dangling something in front of a victim so that they take action. It can be through a peer-to-peer or social networking site in the form of a (porn) movie download or it can be a USB drive labelled “Q1 Layoff Plan” left out in a public place for the victim to find. Once the device is used or malicious file is downloaded, the victim’s computer is infected allowing the criminal to take over the network.
  1. Quid pro quo – Latin for ‘something for something’, in this case it’s a benefit to the victim in exchange for information. A good example is hackers pretending to be IT support. They will call everyone they can find at a company to say they have a quick fix and “you just need to disable your AV”. Anyone that falls for it gets malware like ransomware installed on their machine.
  1. Tailgating – A method used by social engineers to gain access to a building or other protected area. A tailgater waits for an authorised user to open and pass through a secure entry and then follows right behind.
  1. Honeytrap – A trick that makes men interact with a fictitious attractive female online. From old spy tactics where a real female was used.
  1. Rogue – Also, Rogue Scanner, rogue anti-spyware, rogue anti-malware or scareware, rogue security software is a form of computer malware that deceives or misleads users into paying for the fake or simulated removal of malware. Rogue security software, in recent years, has become a growing and serious security threat in desktop computing. It is a very popular and there are literally dozens of these programs.­

Attacks

You may have heard of Norton antivirus, published by Symantec. The technical director of Symantec Security Response said that bad guys are generally not trying to exploit technical vulnerabilities in Windows. They are going after you instead.

“You don’t need as many technical skills to find one person who might be willing, in a moment of weakness, to open up an attachment that contains malicious content.”

Only about 3% of the malware they run into tries to exploit a technical flaw. The other 97% is trying to trick a user through some type of social engineering scheme. This means it does not matter if your workstation is a PC or a Mac. The last line of defence is… you guessed it: YOU!

How can you prevent attacks?

We’ve pulled together some resources to help you defend against social engineering attacks. A good place to start is ensure you have all levels of defense in depth in place. Keep reading below to find out how you can make yourself a hard target, get additional content for yourself and your users and stay up to date with social engineering in the news via our blog.

Social engineering attacks, including ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) and phishing, are problems that can never be solved, but rather only managed with a focus on security awareness training.

  1. Start with a baseline phishing security test to assess your organisation’s baseline Phish-prone™ percentage
  2. Step users through interactive, new-school security awareness training
  3. Run frequent simulated social engineering tests to keep users on their toes with security top of mind

Did you know that 77% of successful social engineering attacks started with a phishing email?

Find out what percentage of your employees are Phish-prone™ with your free Phishing Security Test. Plus, give them point-of-failure training using our Social Engineering Indicators feature. Go Phishing Now!

Social engineering tip sheet

The below infographic will show your users what to watch out for in emails. We highly recommend you print it out, it’s a great at a glance reminder.

Download the Security Awareness Training datasheet to discover more!

[Webinar On-Demand] Why Do You Need Security Awareness Training?

Hosted by Gerard Brown at NetUtils and joined by guest speakers Ollie Pech, Channel MSP Manager and Javvad Malik, Security Awareness Advocate from KnowBe4 and known blogger and YouTuber within the infosec industry.

The title of this webinar poses a critical question all organisations should be asking themselves in this ever-changing world. While a layered security infrastructure is an absolute must to protect against the growing variety of threats organisations face today, there’s a hidden threat that is often-overlooked. What is this hidden danger… IT’S YOUR USERS?

The facts from NetUtils

Did you know, more than 90% of successful hacks and data breaches, all start with phishing scams? That’s a huge number considering the sheer volume of data breaches you hear about in the news on a daily basis.

According to the APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report for Q3 2019, phishing scams have reached the highest level in just three years, this level not seen since 2016! Below is a snapshot of the stats over the past year. What makes the chart of interest is the 46% increase of phishing sites detected between Q2 and Q3 of this year. And an almost 100% increase in phishing sites detected in Q4 of 2018, this time last year. *

Phishing attacks reach the highest level in 3 years!

* APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report Q3 – 2019

8 reasons why we partner with one of the best Security Awareness Training vendors in the industry

To help our customers educate their end users and to keep security top of mind!

  1. The world’s largest integrated Security Awareness Training and Simulated Phishing platform, founded in 2010
  2. With over 28,000 customers and 9.5million users KnowBe4 helps organisations manage an ongoing problem of social engineering
  3. The ‘last layer’ of security is the Security Awareness layer, only really been taken into consideration over the last few years i.e. your human firewall
  4. KnowBe4 have developed tremendously as a business from a “nice to have” within organisation to be a “must have”
  5. Over a thousand training modules that are pre aligned to the platform that are all around security awareness and includes some HR modules and over 80 compliance modules
  6. A simulated phishing platform with an iterative process; train, phish and analyse, all of the time
  7. The KnowBe4 console helps organisations see where their end users are having trouble understanding security, this is backed up with over 1000 training modules to support learning. Not used to name and blame
  8. Assists organisations in reducing malware infections, data loss and potential cyber threat, whilst increasing user productivity
Train, phish and analyse with the KnowBe4 phishing platform

Empowering Your Human Firewall

Always remember as a business you are dealing with human beings and to do that, you have to understand behaviour and how to influence that behaviour. Ultimately, the goal is, to move your staff from insecure behaviours to better behavioural patterns so they can take a risk-based approach to any actions they take.

There are 3 realities of Security Awareness:

  1. Just because I’m aware doesn’t mean I care
  2. If you try to work against human nature, you will fail
  3. What your employees do is way more important than what they know

Take the book by Daniel Kahneman called Thinking, Fast & Slow – there are 2 types of systems he outlines; System 1 called Fast Thinking, this is the way a person reacts to everyday routine, they don’t really think about the actions as this is just natural behaviour i.e. making a cup of tea. However, when we look at System 2 thinking referred to as Slow Thinking, this is used to solve specific problems when necessary, it’s more complicated and requires thought.

Daniel Kahneman book called Thinking, Fast & Slow.

When it comes to Security Awareness and your organisation you actually start with System 2, the Slow Thinking, to try and get people really thinking. The more you do this the more it becomes a System 1 way of thinking. That is why continuous awareness and training is vital. The goal, to make Security Awareness a natural behaviour within your organisation, like making that cup of tea, make it a habit over time and get that way of thinking embedded into your company culture.

Your awareness program should NOT focus only on information delivery. Do you care more about what your people know or what they do?

During our webinar Javvad revealed an interesting take away from Dr. BJ Fogg, known in the field of ‘Behaviour Design’ and The Fogg Behavior Model.

“Behaviour happens when three things come together at the same time: Motivation, Ability, and a Prompt to do the behaviour.”

  1. Motivation – are your users sufficiently motivated to an action
  2. Ability – do they have the ability to do that action
  3. Prompt – the nudge to get them to do that action

Take these behaviours into consideration when designing your training programs so all boxes are ticked. Get specific as to what behaviours you want to change and target them.

Get specific with the behaviours you want to change and target them.

Here at NetUtils we partner with KnowBe4 to help our customers educate their end users and keep security top of mind. Security Awareness Training should be part of your cyber security strategy and embedded into your cultural fabric especially when human error is still one of the leading causes of data breaches today.

To help you on your way we’ve got some cool FREE tools to get you started!

  • Free Phishing Security Test – Find out what percentage of your users are Phish-prone. Get yours here.
  • Free Email Exposure Check – Find out which of your users’ emails are exposed before the bad guys do. Get yours here.
  • Free Domain Spoof Test – Find out if hackers can spoof an email address of your own domain. Get yours here.
  • Free Phish Alert Button – Your employee’s now have a safe way to report phishing attacks with one click. Get yours here.
  • Ransomware Simulator – Find out how vulnerable your network is against ransomware attacks. Get yours here.

Webinar: Supporting your journey to compliance and beyond

The financial implications of not being compliant are enormous let alone the reputational damage that comes with a data breach! Data moves throughout your organisation at an alarming rate and data privacy will affect all parts of your business.

We can provide you with practical, pragmatic advice on meeting and maintaining regulations such as GDPR and the incoming ePrivacy regulation enabling organisations like yours to meet regulatory obligations and business goals.

Watch our on demand webinar and get some key questions answered:

  • Will there be a grace period?
  • Who owns the risk when it comes to data in your organisation?
  • What is data portability?
  • What is a data protection officer?
  • Is it mandatory to have a data protection officer?
  • How and when do you obtain consent?
  • Will you need a Privacy Impact Assessment?
  • What actions should you take next?

Register here to join our next webinar in the series on the 12th September – Network Utilities Managed Security Services.

Webinar: Prepare for tomorrow’s cyber threats today!

Watch our on demand webinar and take a dive into today’s data and cyber security threat landscape with our Principle Technology Strategist; Malcolm Orekoya and hear about:

  • The evolution of ransomware
  • How to boost cyber security awareness within your organisation
  • Data portability in your organisation
  • The importance of encrypted data visibility
  • How to prepare for the impact these cyber threats will have on your organisation

Network Utilities’ Services puts your business first, reduces your risk and helps you ensure your network is safe, secure, fast and compliant.

Privacy Is a Human Right; do you understand your data obligations?

On Thursday we gathered together with clients at information security consultants Blackfoot UK’s head office in London to talk about a trending topic in the IT world today.

Data and Cyber Security Matters in a Post Brexit World.

David Silsby our Sales Director welcomed us on this very chilly morning reiterating the Network Utilities ethos of “Identity should be at the heart of everything we do; the identity of the individual and the device is key! Remembering Who is on your network, What they are trying to access and How is critical to ensuring your network remains secure, fast and compliant.”

Next up was Matthew Tyler, CEO of Blackfoot UK and our keynote speaker for the day. Giving us a time hop into the past where we learned some interesting facts. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) came into effect in 1953 and is an international treaty to protect human rights. The definition of privacy as in Article 8 states “A right for one’s ‘private and family life, his home and correspondence’ to be free from unlawful searches”.  In the UK human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. Matthew went on to explain how the internet has changed the economics of data and contributed to the erosion of privacy, he also detailed current privacy laws and how Brexit will change the future. Below you can see the 8 principles of the Data Protection Act, governing the use of personal information which we must comply with, unless an exemption applies, the principles state that data must be:

  • Used fairly and lawfully
  • Used for limited, specifically stated purposes
  • Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate
  • Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
  • Handled according to people’s data protection rights
  • Kept safe and secure
  • Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection

Data is an extremely powerful tool in today’s business world. Knowing your customer well can create a tailor made customer experience. The future of business intelligence is evolving and we will soon start to see new services and businesses arise to help us harness the power of this business intelligence.

iot_of_ransomware

Protecting your customer’s data has never been more critical

The cost of a data breach can have a huge impact on you and your business including; bankruptcy, reputational damage, legal implications and of course loss of data. You need to have the appropriate security in place depending on the value of the data you hold i.e. credit card details or email addresses. Do you know the value of your data? Do your staff know what risky looks like? And are they fully trained and aware of the implications of clicking on a malicious links, for example? Research tells us you are only as strong as your weakest link, and that in most cases is your staff.

This brings me onto 5 key questions posed by Matthew around what you need to be asking yourself and your business to truly understand the type of data your business holds.

  1. Do we know what data we have?
  2. Do we understand its potential value and the associated risk?
  3. Do we know who could want our data (for good or bad)?
  4. Do we understand where our data is and who can access it?
  5. Do we know what protection our data needs?

The cost of a data breach

The Cost of a Data Breach

* IBM Security 2016 – Cost of a Data Breach Study

If you would like to know more about European regulations and what’s changing in the UK, how to keep your customers data safe and the implications of personal data being lost or misused then you can download Protecting Data and Privacy to get a full overview. Remember you are only as strong as your weakest link!

Will the defenders ever be faster than the attackers?

Our Principal Technology Strategist, Malcolm Orekoya shared his research on the current threat landscape. Did you know that 89% of breaches had a financial or espionage motive?

In order for us to understand cyber security we need to understand the cyber-crime world. These attackers have the same technology advancements that we do and they are always one step ahead. The resources are available for anyone online and you can even pay for “cyber-crime” support. Organised crime is evolving quickly due to underground criminal networks and the so called dark web. The tools are getting smarter and depending on what these criminals are after they will attack in different ways.

“Analysis of known bad malware found that the 91.3% of that malware uses the Domain Name Service (DNS) to carry out campaigns.” Cisco Annual Security Report 2016

There has been an explosion in ransomware and exploit kits are sophisticated. “The Angler exploit kit is one of the largest and most effective exploit kits on the market. It has been linked to several high-profile malvertising (malicious advertising) and ransomware campaigns. And it has been a major factor in the overall explosion of ransomware.” Cisco Annual Security Report 2016

“33% of the malware observed in 2016 research used encryption.” Trustwave Global Security Report 2016

Most legacy platforms cannot see encrypted traffic therefore there is a loss of visibility. Malicious users are aware of this vulnerability and that you don’t have visibility so exploit this lack of visibility to insert their malware into your network. It’s crucial for you to have network visibility in order to be able to effectively apply security policies.

Education

People are your best network defence, but only if they are educated to understand the risks. We advocate creating a data security awareness culture. The one constant factor that exists in all layers of security is the human element. The idea here is to educate people on common threats and their various guises, test their understanding and responses to this education over time, review the results of such tests and then repeat the entire cycle periodically over and over again. You can read Malcolm’s full blog Stop Phishing Attacks – Harness the Power of Your Human Sensor Network – Here.

It’s not if; it’s when!

You need to collaborate to stay ahead of the trends and the cyber security landscape. Think ahead to prevent future attacks. Think of the cost and rewards of investing in your network security vs the risk of not doing so. Ask yourself, can you afford to lose it all when you do get attacked?

SC Magazine recently ran a survey on 900 business and IT decision makers across the UK – EU GDPR – nine out of ten don’t understand it. A staggering 91% of respondents have concerns about their organisation’s ability to comply with GDPR. This regulation will come into effect in 2018 and the penalties will be high, that might seem like a long way away but it’s just around the corner, and you’ll need to be prepared.

Talk to specialists who are confident about compliance and threat prevention. Talk to Network Utilities.

Upcoming events:

We will be hosting another webinar on the 22nd February 2017. To find out more on your obligations and how GDPR will affect you and your organisation join our webinar with information risk, security and compliance specialists Blackfoot. You can register here.

t: 020 8783 3800 e: sales@netutils.com

About Network Utilities
Identity Centric Networks & Security

Network Utilities (Systems) Ltd have been providing identity centric network and security solutions to organisations ranging from Telecoms and ISPs to large corporates and SMEs for over twenty three years. Partnering closely with both industry leading and niche technology vendors to bring customers the best solutions the industry has to offer. Read more at www.netutils.com.