Inside The Ink

4 Phishing Attack Trends of 2019

by ID Agent

Few cyber threats are as prevalent and costly as phishing attacks. In 2018, Microsoft documented a 250% increase in phishing campaigns, which masquerade as legitimate products or services but actually carry malicious payloads that steal credentials and compromise IT integrity. To no surprise, the rise of phishing attacks continues to trend upward and is wreaking havoc for SMBs and enterprises alike. Even as companies implement automated defenses intended to keep phishing attacks out of employee inboxes, many inevitably make their way through. A recent survey found that nearly half of respondents reported malicious emails reaching employee inboxes every week, and 20% indicated that they experienced a data breach as a consequence of a phishing vulnerability. In fact, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report concluded that ⅓ of all cyberattacks begin with a phishing scam. To maintain an edge, hackers are continuously evolving their strategies and improving their attack methods, making their efforts increasingly difficult to detect. In other words, employees may not be fooled by phony emails from a foreign leader or celebrity, but they could be compromised by a call or IM from their manager or CEO. Follow along as the ID Agent team outlines four of the latest phishing attack trends that you’ll want to know in order to protect your business. #1 Increased Personalization The past several years have seen billions of records compromised, and the consequences far exceed the immediate media scrutiny and consumer backlash that follows in the wake of breach. Cybercriminals are repurposing exposed information to craft sophisticated phishing campaigns that are camouflaged with authentic-looking information purportedly from known and trusted sources. For example, we recently reported on an Ocala City employee who transferred $640,000 to a fraudulent bank account in response to a spear phishing campaign that contained a legitimate invoice amount from one of the city’s construction contractors. Similarly, Italian precision engineering companies are facing a slew of phishing attacks that seem to originate from potential clients. Such emails will include company and sector-specific details and be embedded with a Microsoft Excel document that hosts malicious, credential stealing code. #2 Multi-platform Approaches Phishing scams are commonly associated with email messages, but today’s cybercriminals are taking advantage of diverse communication platforms to posit messages in our various inboxes. Often hackers leverage SMS and social media accounts to reach their victims. SMS phishing attacks, colloquially known as “smishing,” are targeting users’ reflexive instinct to trust and respond to text messages on their phone. Targeting users on their social media is no different and can have a similar result. In 2019, Facebook is the most impersonated social media platform, with a 176% year-over-year increase in phishing URLs. To be effective, hackers rely on the perception of authenticity, and reaching users on these familiar platforms can trick unsuspecting victims into handing over the keys to their accounts. #3 HTTPS Encryption In addition to reaching users in familiar territory, hackers are deploying the internet’s sign posts of security to elicit the trust of their victims. Specifically, cybercriminals are manipulating HTTPS, the internet protocol that denotes encryption and security, to trick users into a false sense of security. It’s estimated that 58% of all phishing campaigns use HTTPS, which both makes it less likely that users will identify the fraudulent website and that internet browsers will flag the unsecured connection. This tactic has become so prevalent that the FBI issued a public warning this summer urging people to take special care to evaluate their digital communications for intent rather than relying on traditional representations of internet security. #4 Dynamic BEC Campaigns Between the treasure trove of data available on the Dark Web to the information readily published on company websites, hackers can effectively impersonate higher-ups or IT administrators with staggering effectiveness. Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams rely on personalization, and today’s hackers dialogue directly with their victims to gain trust. Once achieved, hackers send a simple request, like editing a document or filling out a form that ultimately directs victims to a phishing website. To increase their efficacy, many cybercriminals include these links in attachments, which makes them both harder to detect by software and less likely to be identified by readers. Staying one step ahead It’s evident that phishing scams will continue to keep IT admins up at night for years to come. However, there is a silver lining. Unlike other cyber attacks, phishing scams are only effective if they are acted upon, and companies can mitigate such threats with regular, comprehensive awareness training to their employees. With the right solutions provider, you can equip your employees to stay abreast of emerging threats, report potential misuses of data, and transform themselves into the first and best line of security against cybercriminals. Whether you’re a small business or large enterprise, you have the power to stop phishing attacks from stealing employee credentials or proprietary information. Our BullPhish ID™ program simulates phishing attacks and conducts security awareness training campaigns to educate your employees, making them the best defense against cybercrime. Click the link to get started: https://www.idagent.com/bullphish-id.

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The Week in Breach: 11/13/19 – 11/19/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, ransomware erodes profitability, healthcare providers struggle to protect PII, and data breaches officially reach an all-time high.

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The Week in Breach: 11/06/19 – 11/12/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, healthcare data is targeted by cyber criminals, lax account security compromises PII, and Australian cybersecurity specialists are on the verge of burnout.

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The Unseen Consequences of Data Breaches

by ID Agent

It’s no secret that the costs associated with data breaches are trending upward at alarming rates. Just this year, IBM’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Study found that the average cost of a single data breach is approaching $4 million. Although IT repair, identity monitoring services, and regulatory fines quickly make their way to financial statements, others covertly chip away at the bottom line over time. Simply put, it’s not enough to add up the quantifiable costs of a breach when assessing the ROI of cybersecurity in the equation. Companies must also factor in the unseen consequences of a data breach, which can often result in even more damage than initial costs. Patching up vulnerabilities and offering free credit monitoring as a post-breach response only treats the symptoms, while the underlying disease continues to progress. Keep reading to learn about four cascading consequences of data breaches that can impact your company in the long run. #1 Reputational Damage Reputational damage and brand erosion in the wake of a breach is not easily measured, as it is carries on for years after news of an attack. The Ponemon Institute estimates that 65% of data breach victims lose their trust in a brand after a data breach. Even worse, consumers voice their displeasure within their circles, a phenomenon that is magnified with the advent of the internet. Interactions Marketing notes that 85% will tell others about the breach, and more than 30% will take to social media to complain about the company. For today’s consumers, a data breach is akin to a scarlet letter that can brand a business for years. Whether it’s an SMB or large corporation, the efforts to overcome this stigma greatly outweigh the costs of protection, since companies often don’t always have a say in whether or not customers will give them a second chance. #2 Customer Attrition As frightening as it may sound, today’s consumers do not forgive companies that cannot protect their data and are increasingly more likely to stop spending altogether after a breach. A recent study by Business Wire found that 81% of consumers would stop engaging with a brand online following a breach, destroying years of relationship-building and promotional efforts. In fact, 80% of customers are willing to take their business elsewhere. Ultimately, customer rejection can be the proverbial nail in the coffin that prevents companies from ever truly recovering from a data breach. It’s estimated that 60% of SMBs fold within six months of a data breach. As one enraged Equifax consumer told The Wall Street Journal, “if I can’t trust Equifax to do their own job, I’m not going to hand them my money and say, ‘Hey, watch this for me.’” This customer’s sardonic take serves as an eerie warning to all businesses: data breaches have lasting effects. #3 Continued Attacks Companies compromised by a data breach can find themselves or their customers victimized again in the future. The rise of credential stuffing attacks makes it increasingly likely that hackers will apply previously stolen data to easily access accounts and IT infrastructure, often without detection. Nearly a quarter of all data breaches occur due to stolen credentials, and successive attacks only make reputational recovery and renewed customer confidence more difficult to achieve. Find out how Dark Web ID™ can shield your organization from credential stuffing attacks here: https://www.idagent.com/dark-web/ #4 Increased Premiums Cybersecurity insurance are becoming a widely adopted practice within the industry, yet their value can be easily skewed. As we reported last month, such plans do not holistically cover the cost of a data breach. As more customers cash in on these insurance plans, the costs increase and companies that file a claim can expect their premiums to rise. Moreover, many businesses discover that their policies provide insufficient protection against financial loss, as insurance companies battle to restrict payouts. In one case, a cyberinsurance company only agreed to pay $50,000 on damages to a company that exceeded $2 million. Cybersecurity insurance is by no means a “silver bullet” and could even invite additional costs after a data compromise. Applying the best solution Although the unseen consequences of a breach may appear worrisome, we’re not here to spell out doom and gloom. By being proactive, you can protect your institution from being victim to a breach, and future-proof yourself in the event of an attack. Cybersecurity needs to be a bottom-line, top priority at every company. Especially for SMBs who often lack the financial and personnel resources to recover from a breach, partnering with a managed service provider can provide the oversight and protection needed to navigate today’s digital environment. ID Agent provides a comprehensive set of people-centric cybersecurity solutions to private and public sector organizations worldwide. See how you can leverage solutions for Dark Web Monitoring, password management, and employee training to safeguard your customers, employees, and organization from breach. Resources https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach https://www.centrify.com/media/4772757/ponemon_data_breach_impact_study_uk.pdf https://www.interactionsmarketing.com/press-releases/interactions-finds-45-percent-of-shoppers-dont-trust-retailers-to-keep-information-safe/ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191022005072/en/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/12/08/mind-the-trust-gap-how-companies-can-retain-customers-after-a-security-breach/#2235b64f6c95 https://www.inc.com/joe-galvin/60-percent-of-small-businesses-fold-within-6-months-of-a-cyber-attack-heres-how-to-protect-yourself.html https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-capital-one-hack-life-in-the-time-of-breach-fatigue-11564824600 https://info.idagent.com/blog/stop-credential-stuffing-attacks https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/reports/DBIR_2018_Report.pdf https://info.idagent.com/blog/the-week-in-breach-09/25-10/01/19 https://slate.com/technology/2018/07/cyberinsurance-company-refuses-to-pay-out-full-amount-to-bank-after-hacking.html

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The Week in Breach: 10/30/19 – 11/05/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, negligence compromises user data, hackers attack digital points of sale, and SMBs struggle to hire top cybersecurity talent.

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The Week in Breach: 10/23/19 – 10/29/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, ransomware stops a business from shipping products, spear phishing campaign costs a local government thousands, and executives continue to ignore spooky cybersecurity risks.

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How to Stop Credential Stuffing Attacks

by ID Agent

A quick glance at recent reports or news headlines paints a dismal picture of the data breach landscape in 2019. Both by the measure of the number of companies compromised and the number of records accessed, breach incidents are occurring at a record-setting pace, with over four billion records exposed for misuse and abuse this year.

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The Week in Breach: 10/16/19 – 10/22/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, ransomware will cost companies critical revenue, repeat offenders put customer loyalty at risk, and businesses fail to account for the risks of compromised employee credentials.

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The Week in Breach: 10/09/19 – 10/15/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, hackers hijack a shoe company’s email list, patients are upset about healthcare data breaches, and Twitter comes under fire for data misuse.

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The Week in Breach: 10/02/19 – 10/08/19

by Kevin Lancaster

This week, hackers make a sport of exploiting online gamers' data, ransomware prevents patient care, and business leaders lament today’s data landscape.

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