It’s 2018, and phishing emails are just an expected part of life for email users around the world, containing all manner of malware within concealed links and dodgy attachments. Most of us can recognise poorly spelled phishing emails that lack any real context, but what happens when something more complex hits your inbox? What if a cyber criminal emailed you your password – a real password you’ve used – and told you that they had compromising videos of you and more? What if they said that unless you pay a Bitcoin ransom, they would share this incriminating footage with everyone on your contacts list? That’s exactly what has been happening to thousands of Irish users, to both personal and corporate email addresses.
Cyber criminals have always targeted users, finding it easier to trick unsuspecting employees than to bypass complex technical security measures – and this trend has been growing steadily the last few years. Identify fraud, where criminals impersonate someone else in order to steal their money or use their account to manipulate others, is now one of the most common types of cyber crime there is. Account takeover attacks, where criminals gain access to a user’s account and use it to send spam or phishing emails, is also on the rise, often allowing malicious emails to bypass email security filters.
Phishing remains one of the most common attack vectors for criminals – one study alarmingly found that 93% of phishing emails contained ransomware
Cyber criminals are beginning to target Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, with the aim of disrupting and stealing data from large companies, according to reports from both security experts and the US government. According to a recent report from security companies Digital Shadows and Onapsis, hacktivists and state-sponsored groups in particular and looking to exploit flaws in platforms provided by Oracle and SAP.
SAP and Oracle are believed to be the biggest targets due to long-running security vulnerabilities
Adobe has been forced to release an out-of-schedule emergency security patch to its users, after a zero-day vulnerability was discovered to affect Adobe Flash Player. Users are being urged by Adobe to update to version 188.8.131.52 of Flash Player, which contains mitigations for the zero-day as well as addressing three other flaws. This latest flaw was discovered already being used in the wild to attack Windows users, and doesn’t exploit browsers like typical Flash exploits – instead, it works through Microsoft Office documents which it utilises to download and execute malicious code.
Most Flash exploits take advantage of web browsers, however this zero-day utilises Office documents and is usually received through phishing emails
The cryptocurrency saga continues. A malicious extension has been removed from Google’s Chrome browser after it was revealed that it had been spreading through Facebook, attempting to steal passwords from unsuspecting users and taking advantage of their PCs to mine cryptocurrency. This isn’t the first time that cyber criminals have attempted to hijack other people’s computers in order to mine cryptocurrency for them. The extension, named FacexWorm, used Facebook messenger to spread to other users, sending what appears to be a Youtube link, which actually redirected the user to a fake landing page. The extension then communicated with criminal servers in order to download further malicious code onto the user’s PC.