Cybercriminals are constantly changing tactics and lures in their phishing campaigns, so it is no surprise to see a new technique being used by affiliates of the Lockbit ransomware-as-a-service operation. A campaign has been identified by researchers at AhnLab in Korea that attempts to deliver a malware loader named Bumblebee, which in turn is used to deliver the LockBit 2.0 ransomware payload.
Various lures are used in phishing campaigns for delivering malware loaders, with this campaign using a warning about a copyright violation due to the unauthorized use of images on the company’s website. As is common in phishing emails, the emails contain a threat should no action be taken – legal action. Emails that deliver malware loaders either use attached files or contain links to files hosted online. The problem with attaching files to emails is they can be detected by email security solutions. To get around this, links are often included. In this case, the campaign uses the latter, and to further evade detection, the linked file is a password-protected archive. This is a common trick used in malware delivery via email to prevent the file from being detected as malicious by security solutions, which are unable to open the file and examine the contents. The recipient of the message is provided with the password to open the file in the message body.
The password-protected zip file contains a file that masquerades as a PDF file, which the user is required to open to obtain further information about the copyright violation. However, a double file extension is used, and the attached file is actually an executable file, which will deliver the Bumblebee loader, and thereafter, LockBit 2.0 ransomware.
These types of phishing attacks are all too common. Believable lures are used to trick people into taking the requested action, a threat is included should no action be taken, and multiple measures are used to evade security solutions. Any warning about a copyright violation must be taken seriously but as with most phishing emails, there are red flags in this email that suggest this is a scam. Security-aware employees should be able to recognize the red flags and while they may not be able to confirm the malicious nature of the email, they should report such messages to their IT department or security team for further investigation. However, in order to be able to identify those red flags, employees should be provided with security awareness training.
Through regular training employees will learn the signs of phishing emails, can be conditioned to always report the emails to their security team, and can be kept abreast of the latest tactics used in phishing emails for malware delivery. It is also recommended to conduct phishing simulations to test whether employees are being fooled by phishing attempts. If employees fail phishing simulations it could indicate issues with the training course that need to be addressed, or that certain employees need to be provided with additional training. Through regular security awareness training and phishing simulations, businesses can create a human firewall capable of detecting phishing attempts that bypass the organization’s email and web security defenses.
TitanHQ can provide assistance in this regard through the SafeTitan Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulation Platform – Further information on the solution can be found here.
If you want to create a culture of security in your organization, you need to provide comprehensive security awareness training to teach employees the skills they will need to be able to identify and avoid cyber threats. It is also important to conduct phishing simulations on all members of the workforce.
Phishing simulations are realistic but fake phishing emails that are sent to employees to determine the level of security awareness of the organization, assess whether employee security awareness training has been effective, identify any gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed, and to identify any individuals who require further training.
If phishing simulations are not used, organizations will be unaware whether their training has worked and has reduced the susceptibility of the workforce to phishing attacks, and gaps in knowledge could exist that could easily be exploited in real world phishing attacks.
Sending phishing emails to employees to see if they click links or open potentially malicious attachments is important, but to get the full benefits of phishing simulation exercises you need to create a structured phishing simulation program. To help you get started we have provided some tips on how to run effective phishing simulations in the workplace, and highlight some areas where businesses go wrong.
How to Run Effective Phishing Simulations at Work
One of most common assumptions made about phishing simulations is that in order to determine whether employees will respond to genuine phishing emails, employees should not be aware that you will be conducting phishing simulations. That is a mistake. When employers conduct phishing simulations on an unsuspecting workforce, it has the potential to backfire.
Employees often feel like they are being targeted and it can create friction between employees and the IT department, and that is best avoided. You should warn employees when you provide training that part of the training process will involve phishing simulations and that the simulations are not being conducted to catch employees out but to assess how effective training has been. Do not provide specific notice when you are conducting campaigns, just make the workforce aware that you do periodically run phishing simulations.
When you conduct phishing simulations, the emails you send need to be realistic. You should use templates that are based on real-world phishing attacks, after all, the aim of the simulations is to determine if employees will fall for real phishing emails. You should use a variety of lures and send different types of phishing emails, including emails with links, attachments, and Word documents with macros. You should also vary the difficulty of the simulations and include targeted spear-phishing attacks.
Before sending simulated phishing emails to the workforce, test out the emails in small numbers, as this will allow you to correct any problems. Do not send the same email to everyone at the same time, as this often results in employees tipping each other off and will not give you accurate data. Vary the emails you send in any one campaign, and this can be avoided. Each email should include at least two red flags that will allow it to be identified as a phishing attempt. Be careful about the lures you choose. If you send an email offering a pay rise – there are genuine phishing campaigns that do this – be prepared for a backlash, as such a campaign is likely to cause upset. These types of phishing simulations are best avoided.
The first phishing campaigns you send should serve as a baseline against which you can measure how awareness improves over time, so use a moderately difficult phishing attempt, not an incredibly difficult spear phishing email. Anyone can be fooled by a phishing email so ensure that everyone is part of the program, including board members. They too need to be taught how to recognize phishing emails and be tested to see how security aware they are. The C-suite is the top target for phishers.
It is important not to name and shame employees that fail phishing simulations. A failed phishing simulation should be seen as an opportunity for further training, not a reason for punishing an employee. If you opt for positive rather than negative reinforcement, you are likely to get much better results.
Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulations from TitanHQ
SafeTitan from TitanHQ is a comprehensive security awareness training platform with an extensive library of training courses, videos & quizzes. The content is highly interactive and fun, with short and efficient testing and a phishing simulation platform with hundreds of real-world phishing templates to use. SafeTitan is also the only behavior-driven security awareness solution that delivers security training in real-time. Phishing simulations have shown that SafeTitan reduces staff susceptibility to phishing by up to 92%.
For more information and to arrange a product demonstration, give the TitanHQ team a call.
Following on from being included in the Expert Insights’ list of the Top 100 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Companies of 2022, TitanHQ has been named a finalist in the 2022 CompTIA UK Spotlight Awards in the Innovative Vendor Award Category.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is an advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem and the estimated 75 million professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy.
CompTIA provides education, training, certifications, philanthropy, and market research and promotes industry growth, the development of a highly-skilled workforce, and the creation of an environment where innovation happens and opportunities are made possible through technology that is available to all.
Every year, CompTIA recognizes individual and organizational excellence in the UK tech industry through the CompTIA UK Spotlight Awards, which took place on June 16 at the CompTIA UK Business Technology Community Meeting, in Bristol.
TitanHQ is delighted to have been named a finalist at this year’s awards and to be recognized for its innovative cybersecurity solutions that are helping SMBs and Managed Service Providers defend against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.
Over the past 12 months, TitanHQ has enjoyed excellent growth, has brought in a wealth of new talent, and has released two innovative new cybersecurity solutions to its product portfolio: SpamTitan Plus and the SafeTitan Security Awareness and Phishing Simulation Platform.
SpamTitan Plus provides cutting-edge, industry-leading protection against zero-day phishing threats. The AI-driven anti-phishing solution has better coverage, a significant uplift in phishing link detections, and faster detection speeds, with the lowest false positive rate of any product. The solution includes updates from massive clickstream traffic of 600+ million users and endpoints worldwide, which protects against 10 million+ new, never-before-seen phishing and malicious URLs each day.
According to research, 97% of users fail to identify all phishing emails, so advanced phishing protection is essential. So too is security awareness training, to teach employees how to identify phishing and other threats and increase threat reporting rates to security teams.
TitanHQ now offers a comprehensive platform that businesses can use to train their employees to be security titans and create a human firewall to complement their technical anti-phishing safeguards. SafeTitan includes an extensive library of interactive, fun, and engaging training content, a phishing simulator, and is the only behavior-driven security awareness training platform that delivers security awareness training in real-time.
If you want to benefit from these new solutions and any of TitanHQ’s other innovative cybersecurity protects – DNS filtering, email encryption, and email archiving- contact TitanHQ today.
TitanHQ has collected several accolades already in 2022 for the full range of cloud-delivered solutions. The 2022 tally now includes recognition as one of the top 100 most innovative cybersecurity companies.
The Expert Insights’ Top 100 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Companies list was created to recognize the most innovative companies in cybersecurity – companies that develop highly innovative solutions to better protect businesses and consumers from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. The Top 100 list is broken down into 12 different categories, with TitanHQ included in the Email and Messaging Security Category.
It is vital for businesses of all sizes to implement robust defenses to block email-based attacks. Email is the leading vector for malware delivery and phishing attacks are increasing in number and sophistication. As TitanHQ CEO, Ronan Kavanagh, pointed out, “The overwhelming feedback from our users and customer base has been that phishing attacks are becoming more advanced, proficient and dangerous. Phishing is the number one problem to solve in the email security community.”
TitanHQ’s SpamTitan suite of products provides cutting-edge, robust, and rapid protection against phishing attacks, malware threats, and other email-borne cyberattacks. In addition to the SpamTitan Gateway and SpamTitan Cloud solutions, TitanHQ recently released SpamTitan Plus, which provides best-in-class protection against phishing attacks, with the most comprehensive coverage of any solution, incorporating 100% of current market-leading anti-phishing feeds. That translates into 1.5x faster URL threat detection, 1.6x faster phishing detection than the current market leaders, and just 5 minutes from initial detection of malicious URLs to protecting all mailboxes.
“Over the past year, TitanHQ has significantly grown its global presence, strengthened its executive leadership team, and added to its product and services portfolio, all of which have contributed to our impressive placement on the 2022 Expert Insights’ Top 100 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Companies list,” said Kavanagh.
The latest accolade follows on from TitanHQ collecting no fewer than five Expert Insights’ ‘Best of’ Awards in the spring for SpamTitan Email Security, WebTitan DNS Filter, ArcTitan Email Archiving, with two awards for SafeTitan Security Awareness Training.
On June 7, TitanHQ, in partnership with the Oxford Cyber Academy, will be hosting a webinar to discuss employee cyber risks in growing organizations, and how to balance safety and agility.
Organizations are facing an increasing number of threats when trying to stay agile, competitive, and innovative in a digital world, and for small- and medium-sized businesses, those threats have significant potential to threaten growth. Businesses of all sizes are being targeted by cyber threat actors, and successful attacks can cause significant damage to a business’s hard-won market reputation and operations. Those threat actors target a common weak point in security defenses – employees. Digital security needs to be front and center of your continued innovation, but it can be a challenge to stay competitive whilst sustaining a cyber-savvy workforce. Help is at hand, however.
During this webinar, attendees will be provided with valuable information on the changing nature of the cyber threats facing small- and mid-sized businesses and will discover what they need to protect, what they have to lose if they fail to protect it, how to balance technology and human cyber risks, and how to improve employee security awareness and achieve measurable changes in employee behavior through easy, intuitive, personalized and targeted training that is delivered where it’s needed the most.
Join TitanHQ on June 7th where Nick Wilding, Neil Sinclair, Cyber Programme Lead, UK Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, and Richard Knowlton, Director of Security Studies at the Oxford Cyber Academy will discuss:
If you can’t make the event, register anyway and you will receive the webinar to watch on-demand at any time.