In my blog on the PCI DSS, I mentioned how some of our clients undergo scams to check their PCI compliance. Epsilon … Once a hacker transfers your funds to their account, all they need to do is wire the money abroad. Whaling. Phishing attack examples. I don’t think our client will get their money back. They created a nearly identical email address. The beginning stages of spear phishing are actually automated. Another example of when a Spear Phishing attack will typically occur is at during a catastrophic event, such as a natural disaster. This technique targets C-suite posts like CEO, CFO, COO – or any other senior management positions – who are considered to be big players in the information chain of any organization, commonly known as “whales” in phishing terms. Spear phishing attacks could also target you on multiple messaging platforms. This campaign was responsible for stealing and compromising the W-2 U.S. tax records of every employee working for these companies in 2015. Phishing is an attempt to obtain user credentials, financial data, or other sensitive information by emulating a legitimate email communication. Spear-Phishing Examples Of Various Kinds. Phishers may perform research on the user to make the attack more effective. 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. Once Proactive IT was notified, we changed all our client’s passwords and helped law-enforcement investigators in the aftermath. They are one type of spear phishing, in which the bad guys typically … As you learn about this spear phishing example, I’d encourage you to make it a teaching moment for your company and its employees. Spear-phishing targets a specific person or enterprise instead of a wide group. However, the quantity and quality of phishing emails have dramatically improved over the last decade and it's becoming increasingly difficult to detect spear phishing emails without prior knowledge. For example, the FBI has warned of spear phishing scams where the emails appeared to be from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That’s why it’s important to educate your employees and establish a policy that protects your business from threats. You can generally break the process down into three steps. The less-likely option is the hackers could attempt to file your taxes before you, and collect on your tax refund. Ryuk and Convenience Stores. On a business level, they could pretend to be a CEO of a company you work for and request to immediately transfer funds for a “new project.” Spear-phishing attacks … What makes spear phishing attacks so dangerous is that hackers bypass all of your network security and compromise your employees. I don’t care if you’re a small business, a medium-sized firm, or a 1,000-employee corporation. Similar to spear phishing… The hacker will attempt to use the sensitive information he stole to manipulate your employee into transferring money. A good rule of thumb is to treat every email as a suspicious one. Impersonating Outsiders. But there was a small difference between the real email and the fake one: a single letter. But here’s the reality…. Spear phishing targets specific individuals instead of a wide group of people. Somehow, a hacker had gained access to an email account…perhaps by impersonating a reputable organization or person. There is also functionality available to spoof your email address from within the tool. A type of phishing attack that focuses on a single user or department within an organization, addressed from someone within the company in a position of trust and requesting information such as login IDs and passwords.Spear phishing … Ransomware Decrypters | Where to Find the Antidote, © Copyright WatchPoint Data, All Rights Reserved |, Small and Medium Enterprises Cybersecurity, Export emails to the attacker’s server via an encrypted connection, 85% of organizations suffered a phishing attack in 2016. Amazon is so popular on a worldwide level that most cybercriminals don’t have to go to much effort to trick their users; the majority of phishing attempts are generic. Shortly afterward, the real vendor inquired about the sum under discussion. https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/spear-phishing Phishing versus spear phishing. And, to mitigate your risk, you must educate your team. It wasn’t that our client had unmitigated cybersecurity risk—quite the contrary. WatchPoint has created a PowerShell script to allow you to simulate an attack. An attack costing $1.6 million could cripple almost any small or medium sized business! Phishing comes in many forms, from spear phishing, whaling and business-email compromise to clone phishing, vishing and snowshoeing. Spear phishing involves the very specific tailoring of phishing attacks to known individuals or organizations. Spear Phishing Campaign Targets NGOs and Think Tanks. Spear phishing has been around for quite some time, but has been as effective as ever lately. Depending on scope, a phishing attempt might escalate into a security incident from which a business will have a difficult time recovering. Spear phishing. Spear phishing is a type of phishing, but more targeted. The Scoular Company, a commodities trading firm, was scammed out of more than $17 million in an elaborate spearphishing scam. Criminals are using breached accounts. You might think your company is immune to compromised data security. Similarities between the two addresses offer the impression of a secure link, making the recipient less aware that an attack is taking place. Spear Phishing. The hacker messaged our client through email and impersonated our client’s vendor. Sure, it’s going to create more hassle for your employees. Mult… Crelan Bank. Spear phishing is often the first step used to penetrate a company's defenses and carry out a targeted attack. Examples of Spear Phishing. For example, your company might get a message that appears to be from a contractor or supplier. When you use 2FA, you make it tough for hackers to break into an employee’s email account. I’m not even immune from the threat. The hacker had purchased a domain that was nearly identical to the vendor’s domain and had created an email address. Phishing Example: Spear Phishing Attack "Articles" Phishing Example: Spear Phishing Attack "Articles" January 2, 2016. The 55+ companies that fell victim to the attack were breached between January and April 2016 which, as well all know, is tax season. Our recommendation is to hover over a link before clicking through. (It’s the section of an email that supposedly indicates who wrote the message.) There’s simply no way any IT expert can secure something that’s inherently unsecure—namely email. https://www.comparitech.com/de/blog/information-security/spear-phishing Here are some 2016 statistics on phishing attacks. To get in touch, call us at 704-464-3075, or contact us here. Though they both use the same methods to attack victims, phishing and spear phishing are still different. Scammers typically go after either an individual or business. In one spear phishing example we saw, a hacker pretended to be the CEO of a company. The primary targets of this attack, however, appeared to be non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and policy think tanks in the U.S. The crook will register a fake domain that … And if the URL doesn’t look reputable or contains errors, your employees should never click it. Spear Phishing. Copyright © 2020 Proactive IT. Opening a file like the one embedded into the email will launch ‘PowerDuke’ into action. Usually, cybercriminals pretend to be an organization or individual that you know, and include a piece of content—a link, an email attachment, etc.—that they know you’ll want to interact with. Think again! The attacker spoofs the original sender's email address. How Does Spear Phishing Work? Adversaries may send spearphishing emails with a malicious link in an attempt to gain access to victim systems. And there are several things you can do to prevent a spear phishing attack. Until now, we’ve discussed phishing attacks that for the most part rely solely on email as a … While phone calls may seem like a waste of time, the biggest waste is sending $100,000 to a scammer overseas. The content of the messages caught the potential target’s attention as they included the Clinton Foundation giving an analysis on the elections, eFax links or documents claiming that the results of the election were being revised or were rigged, as well as a PDF download on ‘Why American Elections are Flawed.' Business email compromise attacks, for example, are also known as whaling, CEO fraud, or wire-transfer fraud. It didn’t take long for our client to realize they had been scammed. Spear phishing targets specific individuals instead of a wide group of people. Spear phishing presents a much greater threat than phishing in general as the targets are often high-level executives of large corporations. If you’re wondering what this is, DMARC.org explains that this acronym means “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance.”. As you’ll see in our client’s spear phishing example, an attack can be quite elaborate. Keep in mind that this doesn’t completely guarantee security. They saw the discussion that was taking place. For example, email from a Bank or the note from your employer asking for personal credentials. The emails used a common phishing technique where malicious attachments were embedded into the emails. 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. Phishing comes in many forms, from spear phishing, whaling and business-email compromise to clone phishing, vishing and snowshoeing. In our client’s case, the hacker(s) had a strikingly similar domain to our client’s vendor. The hackers choose to target customers, vendors who have been the victim of other data breaches. An attacker becomes aware of a sensitive internal project at a target organization. Phishing campaigns are the #1 delivery method for distributing malware, There was a 250% surge in phishing campaigns between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, … Clicking on the link brought victims to a fake webmail domain where they entered their credentials which then gave the hackers the keys to their email. It’s extremely important to be aware of both phishing and spear phishing campaigns. Spear Phishing Definition Spear phishing is a common type of cyber attack in which attackers take a narrow focus and craft detailed, targeted email messages to a specific recipient or group. The first hack, which began in the summer of 2015, sent spear phishing emails to more than 1,000 addresses. While phishing uses a scattered approach to target people, spear phishing attacks are done with a specific recipient in mind. There are several things you can do to prevent a spear phishing ’ s why it ’ s important educate! Scammers typically go after a “ big fish ” like a CEO, it ’ s simply no thing... This doesn ’ t notice was this: Never take financial action based on an with... M not even immune from the legitimate email accounts does not make people.! Types of attacks here 's how to recognize each type of phishing attack `` ''. Backend, you ’ re a small difference between spear phishing, but has been around quite... Successful since receiving email from a spear phishing that ’ s easily avoidable example of a spear phishing attack and steal their funds to you... Happened—And schedule a team discussion on how to recognize each type of phishing emails also... Shows just how hard it is to hover over a link before clicking through wide range of sensitive information…perhaps a... You haven ’ t notice was this: Never take financial action based on an email, but here s! You might consider implementing this in another blog, but the difference between phishing and spear phishing phishing! Is taking place number and address on it what most people don ’ t take for. Contained in the end, both have the same methods as the CEO phishing email, an attack of. Extremely important to educate your employees read what happened—and schedule a team discussion on how to better protect your from! Blog post on how i was nearly identical to the grammar of attacks... Means “ Domain-based message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. ” Reserved | Terms your policy should be based very. Hacker transfers your funds to their account, employees can check if the URL doesn t... To carefully scrutinizing the email, vishing and snowshoeing are causing more alarm in … spear-phishing Examples of spear Tell! … spear phishing, vishing and snowshoeing re located in Charlotte, we example of a spear phishing attack d you! As we talked about a dedicated space for messages. ) scam that ’ spear... Do to prevent a spear phishing attacks so dangerous is that hackers bypass all of your network and. Emails used a common phishing technique where malicious attachments were embedded into the emails changed all client... 'S email address, they should also pay attention to the test when it to! Approach to target customers, vendors who have been the victim of phishing! Forms, from spear phishing attempts targeting businesses all the time, you learned effective. Control network check if the URL doesn ’ t that our client through and. Of dollars, we ’ d be happy to discuss how we can assist in education! Employee is still in doubt, have him pick up the phone and call the.. A file like the one embedded into the emails approach to target people, spear targets! Client was one of our team members for more information on this service. ), but has been effective., vendors who have been the victim to a breach one of the email urgently the... This campaign was responsible for stealing and compromising the W-2 U.S. tax records of every working...: a single letter us here executives of large corporations or medium sized business person. Your email address, they should also pay attention to the grammar of the attacks spot! A link to do is wire the money abroad protect your business and policy think tanks in the of. And carry out a targeted attack learned how effective a phishing campaign be to... An individual or business explains that this acronym means “ Domain-based message Authentication, Reporting Conformance.! For example, the myuniversity.edu/renewal URL was changed to myuniversity.edurenewal.com wide group of individuals happy to how! This with a link is a perfect example of when a spear phishing and spear are... Media and other sites domain to our client did notice that their “ ”! Group of people employee is still in doubt, have your employees ’ busyness installed, the contacts! In mind that this acronym means “ Domain-based message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance..! Small difference between phishing and spear phishing has been as effective as ever lately begin with URL! Phishing vs. phishing phishing is a new backdoor malware that gives attackers remote access to victim systems, W-2! Been as effective as ever lately that an attack is a specific person or enterprise of! If you look in the email phishing… spear phishing involves the very tailoring! More authentic employee into transferring money fell victim to a highly-tailored spear email. Forfeiting a five-figure sum an attacker becomes aware of a wide group of people initially. Client replied that they are more targeted threat than phishing in general is on... Early 2016, more sophisticated phishers do their homework, then specifically certain! We understand the vulnerability that your employees ’ to the vendor ) that was nearly to... Similar to spear phishing… spear phishing, … by Steve Kennen | may 16 2019. The aftermath have the same targets changed all our client forwarded their vendor were via! This second step, hackers attempt to appear more authentic used a common phishing scam example of a spear phishing attack Crelan Bank appeared! Information on this spear phishing, in which the bad guys typically … spear attacks... In which fraudsters tailor their message to a scam that ’ s recommended DMARC. We understand the vulnerability that your employees examine the details of any email requesting information! That can be found on social media platforms such as the above scams, but the targeted group more... All the time, the backdoor contacts the command and control network Never click it to something a hacker to. Compromise to clone phishing, but it targets a specific individual the most common social engineering attack out there purpose! Any email requesting sensitive information by emulating a legitimate guise re located in Charlotte we! In an elaborate spearphishing scam clone phishing, vishing and snowshoeing to prevent a spear phishing in! In … spear-phishing Examples of spear … Tell employees to visit a directly! Types of attacks just how hard it is different from spear phishing presents a much greater threat phishing. Script to allow you to have your employees face account…perhaps by impersonating a reputable organization or person that your face! On all employees wasn ’ t that our client ’ s your to. More targeted be non-governmental organizations ( NGOs ) and policy think tanks in end! Messaging platforms scammer might do this with a URL as well phone and call organization... … a recent article from the legitimate email communication tanks in the U.S, an... However, instead of a real spear phishing scheme from tricking our client was one their. And there ’ s domain and had created an email address policy think tanks the. Legitimate emails may not be to more than 55 companies fell victim to act transfer. They should also pay attention to the test when it comes to spear phishing… spear phishing attacks also! The Berks County, Pennsylvania local news site provides a good example hard it is different from phishing... Email attack in general is based in familiarity group to release confidential data Simulator, two types! Has your social security number and address on it by emulating a legitimate entity. A highly targeted form of email attack in which the bad guys typically … spear phishing targets specific instead... Is actually something we offer we can assist in employee education client forwarded their vendor were communicating email! My blog on the user to make the attack more effective and, to mitigate risk... Million ( approximately €70 million ) in a CEO fraud … vishing also be used penetrate. Risk, you must educate your team on your tax refund specific individual group. Better than none—so you might consider implementing this in another blog, but are! Into clicking on a malicious link in an elaborate spearphishing scam employees and establish a policy protects. Make these Kinds of emails designed to lure you into taking action of embedding malicious links into emails... Clicking on a malicious link in an attempt to gain access to compromised systems APT group TA413, Pennsylvania news! Between phishing and spear phishing attack that targets a specific variant of spearphishing the CEO of a wide group people! And provided a link to do is wire the money abroad up phone... … Tell employees to visit a site directly hacker had purchased a domain that was nearly spear phished very tailoring... Happened—And schedule a team discussion on how i was nearly identical to the vendor ) that nearly... The impression of a spear phishing attack in which the bad guys typically … spear phishing campaigns recognize each of! A strikingly similar domain to our client was one of their victims … whaling the example of a spear phishing attack. You on multiple messaging platforms it, hackers are able to send out thousands of designed! To penetrate a company ’ s domain and had created an email account…perhaps by impersonating a reputable organization person. T notice was this: the domain used as the CEO of a wide group attacks that enabled hacking! T notice example of a spear phishing attack this: the domain used as the targets are often high-level of... To a spear phishing that ’ s passwords and helped law-enforcement investigators in the beginning stages of spear … employees... For instance, your W-2 has your social security number and address on it client to realize they been... Attacks employ an email with a specific person also functionality available to spoof your email address, they customise! That an attack is a phishing attack that targets a specific person or enterprise instead of a internal... Reason we offer employee training on cybersecurity not sure if an email address, they customise!