Alcoa. For example, posing as someone who went to your old school or is a member of your religious group could get you to open up. This is usually a C-level employee, like a Chief Executive or Chief Financial Officer. They also show that even the most secure infrastructures can potentially be taken down through the mistake of a single user. Which Christmas movie is most popular in your state? Using these details, the fraudster aims to instill trust in the victim and get as far as possible with the scam. How to watch the NCAA Frozen Four and Championship on Kodi, How to watch the 2019 NCAA Final Four and Championship game on Kodi, 30+ Best Kodi Addons in December 2020 (of 130+ tested). If you’ve clicked a link and suspect that malware may have been downloaded, various tools can detect and remove it. No longer are the attacks conducted at random, but they are rather focused and persistent effectively to hit a specific victim or group of victims. Retrieved from http://blogs.rsa.com/anatomy-of-an-attack/, Seltzer, L. (2011, April 1). These are especially useful for businesses where a lot is at stake should an attempt be successful. One of these was reported to target aluminum company Alcoa. Phishing E-mails Hook Most Employees within a Day. Go to the website directly and change it there. Some try to get you to click on a link that could lead to a website that downloads malware (for example, ransomware), a fake website that requests a password, or a site that contains advertisements or trackers. Many times, government-sponsored hackers and hacktivists are behind these attacks. Spear phishing is a very common form of attack on businesses too. Cybercriminals tend to go after smaller companies hoping to get info on larger companies that they have relationships with, as per Symantec key findings. Spear phishing is an email spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to sensitive information. As reported by the FBI and according to the Office of Public Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014, Chinese Military Cyber Hackers that allegedly stole American trade secrets through cyber espionage were accused by the US Government. Aside from those specific cases, here are some more general example scenarios you might come across. Retrieved from http://www.ic3.gov/media/2013/130625.aspx, Higgins, K. J. Anyone can become a target of a spear phisher, so combating this problem requires continuous awareness training for all users for them to be vigilant about the information they share and to avoid revealing too much about themselves online so as to be victims of identity theft. How to bypass throttling with a VPN. In 2008, it’s suspected that hackers contacted 19 senior Alcoa employees via email, impersonating a board member of the company. To have a clearer understanding of what spear phishing is, let’s take a look at several examples... CEO phishing. FORM 8-K: UBIQUITI NETWORKS, INC. Retrieved from https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1511737/000157104915006288/t1501817_8k.htm, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. Thousands of e-mail messages and attachments were stolen from employees’ computers, including information on the transaction. However, you should contact the company via a phone number or email from its actual website, not the contact information found in the email. The breach happened to Ubiquiti Networks, whose company lost $46.7 million after a hacker impersonated a high-ranking executive to authorize a wire transfer that belonged to the hacker. Here are some examples of successful spear phishing attacks. Defending Against Mobile Malware. It is fundamental to train employees to recognize phishing messages to protect them against most attacks. The links that the cybercriminal want us to click on will usually be concealed in a button … It requires an expertly skilled hacker. The information is often sought through an email, a phone call (voice phishing or vishing), or a text message (SMS phishing or smishing). The Biggest Cryptocurrency Heists of All Time, Understanding cryptography’s role in blockchains, How to buy and pay with bitcoin anonymously, What bitcoin is and how to buy it and use it. Opening the attachment ultimately led some recipients to install Locky ransomware, which involved a bitcoin ransom. Organizations of all sizes and in any industry can become targets for spear phishing. 10 tips for spotting a phishing e-mail. Below is an example of an eFax document that was included in the spear phishing campaign. "Whaling" is a specific form of phishing that targets high-profile business executives, managers, and the like. SPEAR PHISHING EXAMPLES AND CHARACTERISTICS A spear-phishing attack can display one or more of the following characteristics: • Blended or multi-vector threat. Unsurprisingly, tons of data can be found on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Because cybercriminals do so much research into their victims, this makes their attacks very convincing. Spear phishing is one of the most common sources of data breaches today. The malware gave the attacker remote access and the ability to steal sensitive data. She was targeted by a criminal who used social engineering to get her to hand over a password to an email account. For example, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted lots of schemes centering around government benefits and job opportunities. Not sure if an email is coming from a hacker or a legitimate … Criminals select an individual target within an organization, using social media and other public information—and craft a fake email tailored for that person. Almost all online scams start with some form of phishing, but many of these attempts randomly target a large audience. The current statistics found in the DBIR 2015 report say we need to do much better in this area. 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. According to the latest Verizon DBIR, two-thirds of all cyber-espionage-style incidents used phishing as the vector. To attract their attention, emails may appear to be legal threats or important complaints. What is Trojan Horse malware and how can you avoid it? Examples of Spear Phishing scams. You may have to do multiple checks and even then, they could have all bases covered. Newer attacks have been tied to state-affiliated espionage for a cause, political or other. During litigations, a spear phishing e-mail was sent to a restricted group of the U.S. company employees involved in the litigation. Put your team to the test. Retrieved from http://www.darkreading.com/attacks-and-breaches/epsilon-fell-to-spear-phishing-attack/d/d-id/1097119? Small groups of employees were targeted, and the e-mail was filtered and landed in the users’ junk mail folder. Spear phishing is advanced targeted email phishing. As you can see there are many different approaches cybercriminals will take and they are always evolving. Symantec points out how the manufacturing sector has quickly become a primary target. To attract their attention, emails may appear to be legal threats or important complaints. As such, they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to spot. Real-life spear phishing examples The potential destructiveness of a spear phishing attack for a business is shown clearly in the case of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., an American network technology company for service providers and enterprises. These emails often use clever tactics to get victims' attention. Emails seemingly sent from senior executives directed employees to send funds from a subsidiary in Hong Kong to accounts belonging to third parties. Some of the most significant U.S. incidents, related to spear phishing, show how malicious hackers can employ different tactics to gain access even to the most secure and high-level information; these real-life examples show how any organization or individual can be a target and, unfortunately, a victim. Phishing Examples. Spear phishing is a far more focused approach than normal phishing. These attackers often … Spear phishing hackers work diligently to obtain as much personal information about their victims as possible to effectively impersonate trusted contacts, making their spoofed … Avoid opening suspicious e-mail attachments and following links sent in e-mails, especially when the sender is unknown. The email may be asking for company details such as financial records or corporate credit card numbers. Spear Phishing . The false CEO/ official orders to transfer considerable amounts of funds to a particular account, details of which … Spear-phishing targets a specific person or enterprise instead of a wide group. That scam was particularly emotionally damaging, whereas others are purely financially motivated. (2015, August 6). By then, hackers had obtained some of their customers’ data that was exposed in the attack, told Mathew Schwartz, an InformationWeek information security reporter. What’s more, Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report found that phishing is involved in 22 percent of data breaches, more than any other threat action variety. We explain exactly what a spear phishing attack is (with examples) and the best practices to avoid becoming a victim. Time will tell if spear phishing will be an even bigger concern in 2016. Tell employees to visit a site directly. The fraudsters persuaded a town employee to provide secure login information. Spear phishing attempts targeting businesses 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. Spear phishing is advanced targeted email phishing. An example of a phishing email, disguised as an official email from a (fictional) bank. You may see a string of emails designed to lure you into taking action. Spear Phishing Examples. Much is due, still, to lack of cyber-security training and knowledge of how to identify phishing attempts. (n.d.). Once the malware is installed, the backdoor contacts the command and control network. Spear phishing can be the cause of huge financial losses, both for individuals and businesses. Public Service Announcement: Cyber Criminals Continue to Use Spear-Phishing Attacks to Compromise Computer Networks. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. (2015, August 7). Alternatively, APWG’s Report Phishing site is another place to submit a suspected phishing e-mail. If you suspect you may have been a victim of a phishing attempt or you are notified as such (by a definitely trusted source), then you should consider changing your password. Retrieved from http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/08/tech-firm-ubiquiti-suffers-46m-cyberheist/, Muncaster, P. (2015, December 21). These emails were sent to different marketing companies, but always targeted employees responsible for email operations. 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Spear phishing is the act of sending and emails to specific and well-researched targets while purporting to be a trusted sender. It was used to distribute keyloggers and other malware, but the EFF has since taken control of the domain. Spear phishing is so common that according to Trend Micro, 91% of cyberattacks and subsequent data breaches started with a spear phishing email.. Epsilon Fell to Spear-Phishing Attack. Leviathan : Leviathan has sent spearphishing emails with links, often using a … (2015, October 15). 9 Ways To Make The File Sharing Service Safer To Use. When it comes to spear phishing vs phishing, you have to be more alert when it comes to the former. These could be gleaned from a previous phishing attempt, a breached account, or anywhere else they might be able to find out personal data. Take measures to block, filter, and alert on spear phishing e-mails that will improve detection and response capabilities. If you’re ever asked to change a password, never follow the link in the email or text message. In January 2015, Charles Harvey Eccleston, a former Energy Department, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission employee, has been accused of sending spear phishing e-mails to his former colleagues at Energy to embed spyware and malware on government computers, as told Aaron Boyd, Senior Staff Writer from Federal Times. Defray ransomware is just one example of a strain that targets healthcare, education, manufacturing and tech sectors in the US and UK. Many times, government-sponsored … Schwartz, M. (2011, April 11). Here are some examples of successful spear phishing attacks. Examples of Spear Phishing. You may see a string of emails designed to lure you into taking action. Area 51 IPTV: What is Area 51 IPTV and should you use it? Two groups within the company were sent spear phishing emails simply titled “2011 Recruitment Plan.” Although the emails were marked as junk mail, one employee opened an email attachment that ultimately led to a form of malware being installed on the computer. Some larger-scale spear phishing schemes hit users of large companies, such as those below: PayPal users seem to be the target of endless general phishing attempts. Spear phishing is a highly targeted email designed to advance a criminal’s agenda, whether for financial gain or trade secrets. Spear-Phishing Attacks Out Of China Targeted Source Code, Intellectual Property. In this particular attack, the spear phisher “sent two different phishing e-mails over a two-day period. In 2011, RSA was attacked using a Flash object embedded in an Excel (.XLS) file that was attached to an e-mail with the subject line “2011 Recruitment Plan”. Whaling. Spear phishing attempts can take many different forms. Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing attack which involves tricking an individual or business into giving up information that can be used as part of a scam. Sharing the information with your friends, family, and colleagues can help prevent them from becoming victims too. Social media, in particular, is a hotbed of information regarding both individuals and businesses. Organizations of all sizes and in any industry can become targets for spear phishing. While education and awareness are some of the best defenses out there, tools are available to help defend against phishing attacks. Let's review a few spear phishing examples: Example 1 - John Smith is a senior chemical engineer working on a high-profile project for a cutting-edge pharmaceutical company. These actually address the customer by name, making them seem more legitimate than your standard phishing email. Retrieved from http://us.norton.com/security_response/phishing.jsp, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. For individuals, major email providers are stepping up their game when it comes to anti-phishing tactics. Economic reasons are also at the forefront of the possible motives for spear phishing attacks. How to watch Pennyworth season 2 online (from anywhere), How to watch Winter Love Island 2020 online from abroad (stream it free), How to watch Game of Thrones Season 8 free online, How to watch Super Bowl LIV (54) on Kodi: Live stream anywhere, 6 Best screen recorders for Windows 10 in 2020, Best video downloaders for Windows 10 in 2020, 12 best video editing software for beginners in 2020, Best video conferencing software for small businesses, Best video converters for Mac in 2020 (free and paid), Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigation Report, government benefits and job opportunities, What spear phishing is (with examples) and how you can avoid it. Similarly, an attachment may contain viruses or malware and should never be opened unless you’re absolutely sure of the source. Canada is one of the top countries at risk. A type of spear phishing targets company employees by impersonating Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). However, some PayPal users have been hit with more targeted spear phishing emails. A spear phishing case that involved the RSA security unit of data-storage giant EMC Corp shows how even a company known for security in the cyber realm can be target and victim of an attack. Spear phishing attacks could also target you on multiple messaging platforms. Thankfully, if you’re aware of these types of scams and know what to look out for, you can avoid becoming the next victim. The criminals were then able to use these details to steal the funds. The e-mail subject line read ‘2011 Recruitment Plan.’ The e-mail was crafted well enough to trick one of the employees to retrieve it from their Junk mail folder.” The message contained an Excel spreadsheet titled ‘2011 Recruitment plan.xls’ that hid a zero-day exploit. He has enjoyed writing on a variety of topics ranging from cloud computing to application development, web development and e-commerce. (2015, April 17). What are some spear phishing examples? Spear phishing. RSA was responsible for the cyber security of EMC. One of the best and popular spear phishing examples is the way RSA unit of EMC was targeted. 10 Best SFTP and FTPS Servers Reviewed for 2020, Best VPNs for Netflix: Get any version of Netflix anywhere, 10 Best VPNs for Torrenting Safely and Privately in 2020, How to make your own free VPN with Amazon Web Services, 10 Best Secure File Sharing Tools & Software for Business in 2020, Rapidshare is discontinued, try these alternatives, The best apps to encrypt your files before uploading to the cloud, Is Dropbox Secure? Once open, a backdoor was installed through a vulnerability in Adobe Flash, and the phishing activity successfully harvested credentials, as confirmed the RSA FraudAction Research Labs. (2014, May 19). Here are some of the most frequent ones: Utilizing a strong password is important as it can help prevent other attacks such as brute force attacks. Amazon is another company that has so many users, the chances of hooking one through a general phishing attempt is worth the effort. GitHub is where the world builds software. The attack aimed mainly at stealing intellectual property mentioned Kelly Jackson Higgins, an Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. These all use information that could be gleaned from social media posts, especially if you’re prone to divulging information about where you shop, eat, bank, and so on. Cyber-criminals are increasing their schemes to exploit any personal information discovered from social engineering. Password managers work by auto-filling your information in known sites, so they won’t work on unknown (including fake) domains. Kodi Solutions IPTV: What is Kodi Solutions? Daniel Brecht has been writing for the Web since 2007. The potential destructiveness of a spear phishing attack for a business is shown clearly in the case of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., an American network technology company for service providers and enterprises. In 2008, a U.S. company Alcoa was targeted through spear phishing only a few weeks after having partnered with a Chinese state-owned company. Before we go into more detail, here is a quick overview, in case you’re in a hurry. Attached is a Word document with instructions. Here’s why that’s a dangerous trend, How to watch AEW – All Out Free on Kodi with a VPN, How to watch the US Open Tennis 2019 on Kodi – free livestream, How to download and install Kodi Leia 18.3 on Firestick. Anatomy of an Attack. The report also shares interesting findings on the number of users that still open phishing e-mails (23 percent) and attachments (11 percent) which help hackers compromise systems. Here's a small sample of popular phishing emails we've seen over the years. A 2017 report by IRONSCALES revealed that spear phishing is increasingly laser designated, with 77 percent of emails targeting ten mailboxes or fewer. This online marketing company was targeted in 2011 as part of a scheme to harvest customer credentials, possibly for use in other spear phishing attempts. (2011, April 1). What is Clickjacking and what can you do to prevent it? The emails actually came from the fraudsters and the third-party accounts belonged to them. Take, for example, the disturbing story of a reddit user we interviewed for a previous article. Spear phishing is a common tactic for cybercriminals because it is extremely effective. Filling out an Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) eCrime Report provides valuable data to the Phishing Activity Trends Report each year. This eventually led to the scammer taking over several social media and email accounts and blackmailing the victim with the contents. We have all heard about how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) fell victim to a cyberattack where their email systems were breached during the U.S. presidential race. Spear phishing is a more targeted type of phishing. In perhaps the most high-profile case in recent years, volunteers and employees of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign fell victim to spear phishing attacks . In June of 2015, the company lost $46.7 Million because of a spear phishing e-mail. Some emails will only contain a link or an attachment with no other message, possibly targeting the reader’s sense of curiosity to prompt them to click. For example, the coronavirus pandemic has prompted lots of schemes centering around government benefits and job opportunities. Retrieved from http://news.verizonenterprise.com/2015/04/2015-data-breach-report-info/. In this attack, the hacker attempts to manipulate the target. In the above example, the myuniversity.edu/renewal URL was changed to myuniversity.edurenewal.com. On a personal level, scammers could pose as a business you trust, for example, a bank or a store you’ve shopped at. Scammers will often take advantage of the current climate and recent events to create their phishing lures. That email will use fear-mongering to get the target to call a number or … Spear phishing uses the same methods as the above scams, but it targets a specific individual. Is Facebook profiting from illegal streaming? As you can see there are many different approaches cybercriminals will take and they are always evolving. Having let down their guard in some way, Epsilon had not discovered that its systems had been breached for some months after the incident in 2011. Bear in mind, all of these scenarios could also be more sophisticated phishing tactics, so should be verified (more on that below). In 2015, this company handed over more than $40 million in a spear phishing scam involving CEO fraud. Examples of Whaling Attacks Because whaling attacks are so difficult to identify, many companies have fallen victim to these attacks in recent years. When it comes to spear phishing, the best line of defense are users themselves at any level of an organization who must step up their game as cyber defenders to effectively deter and recognize the subtlest e-scams. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/pittsburgh/press-releases/2014/u.s.-charges-five-chinese-military-hackers-with-cyber-espionage-against-u.s.-corporations-and-a-labor-organization-for-commercial-advantage, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Security firm RSA was targeted in a successful spear phishing attempt in early 2011. Spear phishing example. Instead of a mass email sent to a wide swath of people, spear phishing focuses on one particular user or organization. Most of the large spear phishing breaches have targeted wire transfers and financial transactions, although there are some examples that I’ll be discussing that included data breaches. Whaling. (2010, January 15). What are some spear phishing examples? The criminal targets a specific individual or organization and uses focused personalized messages to steal data that goes beyond personal credit card information. 15 best bitcoin wallets for 2020 (that are safe and easy to use), 11 Best Data Loss Prevention Software Tools. Spear phishing is an email spoofing attack that targets a specific organization or individual, seeking unauthorized access to sensitive information. While scammers target all sizes of businesses, attacks against small businesses are becoming increasingly popular. These attackers often … Phishing. The infection vector for Defray is spear phishing emails containing malicious Microsoft Word document attachments, and the … For example, you might get an email telling you you’re about to receive some money, but you just need to provide some personal details first. Similarities between the two addresses offer the impression of a secure link, making the recipient less aware that an attack is taking place. One of the useful tools available is Cofense (formerly PhishMe). Opening a file like the one embedded into the email will launch ‘PowerDuke’ into action. As mentioned, spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing. It's different from ordinary phishing in that with whaling, the emails or web pages serving the scam take on a more severe or formal look and are usually targeting someone in particular. Spear-Phishing Examples Of Various Kinds. (n.d.). According to Proofpoint’s 2020 State of the Phish (PDF) report, 65 percent of US businesses were victims of successful phishing attacks in 2019. Examples and scenarios for how spear phishing works and what it looks like include: Spear Phishing An Individual: The perpetrator discovers the bank their target uses and using a spoofed email and copied website credentials, sends the target an email stating the account has been breached. It might include a link to a login page where the scammer simply harvests your credentials. Adversaries may send spearphishing emails with a malicious link in an attempt to gain access to victim systems. For example, a spear-phishing attack may initially target mid-level managers who work at financial companies in a specific geographical region and whose job title includes the word “finance.” For businesses, you can actually run a free test to see how “phish-prone” your employees are. Tactics are also slightly changing as shown from recent spear phishing statistics. In what seems like an international spy movie scenario, the Chinese military carried out phishing attacks on Alcoa, an American aluminum supplier. Based on those results, you can decide the best course of action to take to improve training and prevent successful phishing attempts. DNC Hack. Tech Firm Ubiquiti Suffers $46M Cyberheist. Given that the company provides e-mail marketing services, this goes to show that any organization, even those that make the security of their communication system the center of their business, is at risk of such a threat. They might even pretend to be a person you know, directly or indirectly. When you think about how much information can be found on social media, it’s easy to see how someone could quickly earn your trust by simply stating a common interest or posing as a company you have a history with. Spear Phishing Examples. What most people don’t know is the DNC email system was breached through spear phishing emails. Unified Endpoint Management: Guide & UEM Tools, Insider Threat Detection Guide: Mitigation Strategies & Tools, Synthetic Monitoring Guide: Types, Uses, Packages & Tools, 11 Best Free TFTP Servers for Windows, Linux and Mac, 12 Best NetFlow Analyzers & Collector Tools for 2020, Best Bandwidth Monitoring Tools – Free Tools to Analyze Network Traffic Usage, Watch your Plex library in Kodi with the Plex Kodi addon, How to set up Plex on Chromecast and get the most out of it. You think it may be authentic but are unsure, you can see there are many different approaches cybercriminals take... And how do you protect your network attempts randomly target a large audience top! Media and company websites, criminals can gather enough information to send funds from a ( fictional ) bank or., Krebs, B based on those results, you can decide the best course of action take! 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Graduate Certificate in information Assurance and a Master of Science in information technology most people ’... Know is the DNC email system was breached through spear phishing examples more reliable, method of verification is become... Line of defense against any sort of phishing attacks could also target you on multiple messaging.. Handed over more than $ 40 million in a successful spear phishing attempts is education real threat, it... Real-World examples of phishing that targets high-profile business executives, managers, and the e-mail was filtered and landed the... You wouldn ’ t sound right many attacks threatening individuals and businesses, including information the... Attempts have been used to distribute keyloggers and other malware, spammy advertisements, and the evolving employed. Is for validation purposes and should be relied upon, but many of these attempts randomly target large. 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Ceo phishing you’ve clicked a link to a document that contained malicious macros, let ’ called! The criminals were then able to use we go into more detail about what spear attacks! U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission PowerDuke ’ into action and remove it with your friends, family, and best... On Kodi that today ’ s ) is ( with examples ) and the best of...