Human Hacking, Not Automated Attacks, Top Cyber Threat

Human hacking, also known as social engineering, has surpassed hardware and software vulnerabilities and is now the top cybersecurity threat, Computer Weekly reports:

Human hacking, also known as social engineering, has surpassed hardware and software vulnerabilities and is now the top cybersecurity threat.

[A]ttackers shifted away from automated exploits in 2015. Instead, attackers engaged people through email, social media and mobile apps to do the dirty work of infecting systems, stealing credentials and transferring funds.

 Researchers found that machine exploits were replaced by human exploitation, with attackers opting for attachment-based social engineering campaigns rather than purchasing expensive technical exploit kits.

 Across attacks of all sizes, threat actors used social engineering to trick people into doing things that once depended on malicious code.

What is Human Hacking?

Human hacking is a type of con during which, instead of trying to hack into a system, the hacker engages in old-fashioned espionage techniques that involve human interaction and prey on weaknesses in human psychology, such as helpfulness, curiosity—even greed. A human hacker may approach an access-controlled door carrying a number of packages and pretend to fumble for their key or access card; an unsuspecting employee, thinking they are being helpful to a co-worker, opens the door for the hacker. This technique is known in the industry as tailgaiting. Or, using the pretexting technique, the hacker may phone an employee, pose as a help desk worker, and attempt to get the employee to provide their system access credentials.

These simple techniques are surprisingly effective. TechTarget reports that a human hacker recently used pretexting to compromise the U.S. Department of Justice. The hacker phoned the DOJ, pretending to be a new employee who was having difficulty accessing the department’s web portal. The hacker was quickly provided with a token that granted him full access to the DOJ intranet. As a result, information on 20,000 FBI agents and 9,000 Department of Homeland Security employees was publicly leaked.

Other common human hacking techniques include:

  • Baiting takes advantage of human curiosity—or, in some cases, greed. The attacker puts a legitimate-looking and interesting label (such as “Employee Salary Report Q4”) on a malware-infected device, such as a USB drive, then leaves it in a place where someone will find it, such as a bathroom, a hallway, or an elevator. Then, the hacker simply waits for someone to pick up the device and insert it into their computer.
  • Phishing is a technique most Internet users have seen in action. The hacker (or phisher) sends an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, usually a bank or another business. The email requests that the receiver “verify” information by clicking on a link and warns of dire consequences, such as their account being deactivated, if the receiver does not do so. The link leads to a legitimate-looking but fraudulent website that requests personal information, such as online banking access credentials or even a debit card PIN.
  • Spear phishing is a more targeted form of phishing where a particular individual or organization is phished, as opposed to random mass attacks.
  • A Scareware scheme combines malware and human psychology. The con involves tricking victims into believing they have downloaded illegal content or that their computers have been infected with malware. The human hacker then offers the victim a “fix” in the form of a download – which is actually malware.

How Can Your Organization Prevent Human Hacking?

As with all cyber security issues, the best defense is a good offense. Continuum GRC recommends that organizations take a proactive approach to preventing human hacking, beginning with establishing a comprehensive cyber security policy and employee training program. If employees are aware of the types of cons human hackers run, they can learn to identify and report them before any damage is done. Continuum GRC offers the fastest ticket to policy and governance readiness in the business.

Additionally, organizations that conduct ongoing risk assessments and fix the gaps identified are on average a whopping 96% less likely to suffer a breach by hackers. Continuum GRC recommends organizations of any size implement a risk management program sooner than later when it may be too late.

Continuum GRC offers full-service and in-house risk assessment and risk management subscriptions helping companies all around the world sustain a proactive cyber security program. Continuum GRC is proactive cyber security®. Call 1-888-896-6207 to discuss your organization’s cyber security needs and find out how we can help you prevent human hacking.

Hooray for Hollywood! – Hackers Hold Healthcare Hostage

Hackers Hold Hollywood Healthcare Hostage

Hooray for Hollywood! – Hackers Hold Healthcare Hostage with ransomware.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin to hackers who seized control of the hospital’s computer systems holding them a healthcare hostage. The cyber assault on Hollywood Presbyterian occurred Feb. 5, 2016, when hackers using malware infected the institution’s computers, preventing hospital staff from being able to communicate from those devices.

In 2015 the most cyber crime bloodletting occurred in healthcare and 2016 is already trending to the same trajectory. Cyber security providers out there offer Band-aid solutions but what the healthcare industry needs is a cure. Continuum GRC has the solution that can inoculate your organization against these threats, preventing hackers from holding your patients and your business a healthcare hostage.

2016 data breach trends.

What could Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center have done differently to have avoided being a victim to hackers? For starters, they could have taken a proactive approach and identified where their risks were, but instead they took a reactive approach, and now their business has been damaged. The cyber security experts at Continuum GRC know that when you take a proactive approach to security, compliance, audit and governance, you eliminate the potential for sending your business to the emergency room or worse yet, the morgue!

The following steps are proven to help:

  1. Conduct a systematic standards-based risk assessment of your organization
  2. Complete an internal controls assessment using industry frameworks to guide you through the process
  3. Proactively review all threat vectors eliminating them before criminals exploit them

Sound daunting? We know it is and that is why Continuum GRC takes the guesswork and complexity out of the assessment and certification process. Subscribe to the best tools that are guaranteed to help you avoid becoming a victim to hackers.

Check this out for yourself by contacting us at 1-888-896-6207 or just sign-up for a free trial.

Cyber Forensics Protect the Innocent

Cyber Forensics Protect the Innocent

It is always rewarding when cyber security and cyber forensics protect the innocent. Monique Vivien Macias of KPNX 12 News It is always rewarding when cyber security and cyber forensics protect the innocent.  Monique Vivien Macias of KPNX 12 News Phoenix discusses with Lazarus Alliance and Continuum GRC’s CEO Michael Peters how cyber forensics has become such a vital resource in law enforcement’s toolkit.

Christopher Thomas McKenna, the former Chaparral High School teacher and girls’ track coach facing charges for having an on-going sexual affair with a student from another school is facing more charges for allegedly continuing to contact and see the teen.

According to court documents, after his arrest last December, a judge ordered McKenna to wear an ankle bracelet to track his movements as part of his release.

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It’s one piece of a cyber puzzle Scottsdale police reportedly used to obtain evidence McKenna and the now 17-year-old girl were meeting up, continuing to talk over the phone and also, possibly, contacting each other through social media.

“It’s just an extremely valuable tool,” said Michael Peters, a cyber security expert and CEO of Lazarus Alliance Inc. and Continuum IRM GRC software.

Peters has previously used his training in computer forensics to help various law enforcement agencies including the FBI.

“For both solving crimes and preventing crimes,” Peters said, “there are numerous applications that are constantly locating individuals.”

Court papers show location data collected by online apps on the teen’s cellphone show she and McKenna were in the same spot, at the same time on several different occasions and that the teen had been near his house on multiple instances.

“Whatever kind of application you’re using, you start leaving bread crumbs,” Peters said. It can happen multiple ways but mostly, “through networks, through cell towers, Wi-Fi access points,” he continued.

Documents also allege McKenna bought the teen a new TracPhone, also known as a burner phone, to continue hiding their relationship.

However, the report says police used cyber forensics to trace the phone and were able to create a timeline of where and when the phone was purchased and also when McKenna allegedly met the teen and gave it to her.

It went on to say investigators linked McKenna’s debit card to the phone’s purchase.

McKenna is now facing charges for failing to comply with a court order, in addition to a list of other charges which including the sexual exploitation of a minor and luring a minor for sex.

Jail records say he has been released from jail.

Source: 12 News KPNX-TV

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