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Social Engineering

Dumb or Devilish? You Decide…

[Update: so far I have two votes for dumb. Maybe I'm giving this spammer too much credit, and it is a simple "spam template fail" ;-) On the other hand, while I wouldn't vote "evil genius", I'd still love to know how many people actually fall for this - I don't have a problem envisaging

The Return of Jacques Tits

It has been a year since we last discussed fraudulent domain name registrar scams and we wanted to let people know that this scam continues unabated. In a nutshell, a message is sent to a publicly-visible email address listed on your website (sales, support, the CEO's office, a public relations contact, et cetera) from a

You are the weakest link…

Greetings, friends and fiends. It's been a while since I've been able to blog: I've been trying out one of these vacation thingies that I keep reading about in travel magazines. (Well, my wife does, and she tells me when I need a holiday, presumably as my conversations get grouchier.) But I see that my

Hmmm, Phishing Works

Specifically spear-phishing, where the target is deliberately selected, as opposed to a random untargeted attack. An article at Dark Reading.com discusses the entirely unsurprising results of a test that concluded that the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Palm have essentially no protection against spear-phishing attacks. http://www.darkreading.com/insiderthreat/security/app-security/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=221100150&cid=nl_DR_WEEKLY_T LinkedIn was used as the service to send a fake invitation

Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Awareness for the Next Generation

"Now may I suggest some of the things we must do if we are to make the American dream a reality. First, I think all of us must develop a world perspective if we are to survive. The American dream will not become a reality devoid of the larger dream of brotherhood and peace and

Armor for Social Butterflies

I was speaking with our friend David Perry at Trend Micro about the insecurity of social networking services and what steps users could take to strengthen their security online. In the course of our conversation, we came up with a list of simple steps you could take to better protect yourselves. Be careful about whom you

Web Searches and Dangerous Ladies

I feel like the learned judge in the ’60s who asked, in the course of a trial, "What is a Beatle?" since until recently I couldn’t have given you an accurate answer to the question "What is a Jessica Biel?" In fact, I’d probably have said something like ""Wasn’t she in Flashdance?" (The answer is

(User) Education, Education, Education

Regular readers will be aware that, unlike many people in the security industry, people in this research team tend to be enthusiastic supporters of security education for end users, both inside and outside business: not as The Answer To Everything, not in terms of turning everyone who uses the Internet into a security expert, but

A Matter of Life and Delf? Malware on the Fiddle

There’s been a certain amount of buzz in the past couple of days about messages claiming to link to Wire Transfer information, but actually related to a Trojan commonly called Delf or Doneltart. ESET is detecting the examples we’ve been seeing as a variant of Win32/TrojanDownloader.Delf.OZG. The messages generally look something like this (at least,

Facebook: Computeracy by Degrees

When I first went to university at the end of the 1960s (yes, I really am that old, though not quite old enough to be of that generation that only remembers that decade through a haze of psychedelic phenomena), my choice of social sciences was regarded as somewhat fluffy. It was the age of "the

Chinese Whispers: Targeted Malware and E-Espionage

I’ve mentioned here before that targeted malware, often delivered by "spear phishing" carried by apparently "harmless" documents such as PDFs, .DOCs and spreadsheets rather than overt programs, can have much more impact than the raw numbers of such attacks suggest. In fact, some sources now use the term "whaling" rather than "spear phishing" to reflect the

Signed Updates and Social Engineering

Someone raised an interesting point in a comment to yesterday’s blog about Symantec’s own PIFTS.EXE being flagged by their own firewall as a possible problem. Let me quote the comment in full. I by no means buy into the super root-kit routine, I do however think that there will be copy cats (if not already)

This is a Lie

Well, this actually isn’t a lie, but a lot of what you read on the web are lies designed to steal money or identities. If you go to a web page and it says you need a new codec or new software to view a video or picture, or pretty much anything, the odds are

Money for Nothing…

…no promise of chicks for free, but I did get spam this morning offering me a "Free-Trial kit" for some scheme for "making money through the Internet by doing almost nothing" (probably some sort of pyramid scheme, I guess, updated with a reference to using Google). While I’m not about to take up the offer, I

Magic Lantern Show in the UK?

Nigel Morris, of the UK’s "Independent" newspaper reported recently on new powers given to police in the UK and proposals to extend similar powers across the European Union. Understandably, civil rights groups like Liberty have apparently expressed the belief that such expansion of "police hacking operations" should be regulated by Act of Parliament and that there

Self-Protection Part 8

Don’t expect antivirus alone to protect you from everything. Use additional measures such as a personal firewall, antispam and anti-phishing toolbars, but be aware that there is a lot of fake security software out there. This means that you need to take care to invest in reputable security solutions, not malware which claims to fix

Twitter Security: Tweetie Pie Panic

[Update info moved to new blog post on 6th January] In deference to all those old enough to get a panic attack when reminded of how bad pop music was capable of being in the 1970s, I’ll try to overcome by the urge to mention "Chirpy Chirpy Tweet Tweet". Anyway, to business. Having all the

10 Ways to Protect Yourself: Part 6

Don’t disclose sensitive information on public websites like FaceBook or LinkedIn. Even information that in itself is innocuous can be combined with other harmless information and used in social engineering attacks. Rather than expand on that point, for now, I’m going to point to another "10 ways to protect yourself" resource: the more good advice

10 Ways to Protect Yourself: Part 5

Don’t trust unsolicited files or embedded links, even from friends. It’s easy to spoof email addresses, for instance, so that email appears to come from someone other than the real sender (who/which may in any case be a spam tool rather than a human being). Basic SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) doesn’t validate the sender’s

Multi-Layering and User Education: a random thought from AVAR

I promised you some more thoughts on the AVAR conference. Randy Abrams and I put together a paper on user education for the conference (it should be up on our White Papers page quite soon) about the argument between the two main camps in security thinking on the topic. You could sum it up as

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