Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

1/23/2019
10:45 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cybercriminals Home in on Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals

Research shows that better corporate security has resulted in some hackers shifting their sights to the estates and businesses of wealthy families.

Threat intelligence experts and research groups have seen a shift of cybercriminals increasingly targeting ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals and their family businesses.

Lewis Henderson, vice president of threat intelligence at UK-based Glasswall Solutions, says some attackers find it increasingly challenging to get into large corporations, and are putting more of their efforts into attacking the super-rich and their estates and businesses.

"We've found that they are using similar tactics and techniques, such as using email and attachments and ransomware," Henderson says. 

The conclusions drawn by Glasswall mirrors research conducted by UK-based Campden Wealth, which found that 28% of the UHNW families reported having been the victim of one or more cyberattacks. While UHNW families have an estimated net worth of at least $30 million, Campden Wealth recommends that those setting up single-family offices have wealth of $150 million or more. Many of the families that open single-family offices have far in excess of $150 million, with their average net worth standing at $1.2 billion, according to the Campden Wealth/UBS Global Family Office Report.

Dr. Rebecca Gooch, Campden Wealth's director of research, says phishing was the most common type of attack, followed by ransomware, malware infections, and social engineering. She says UHNW individuals are targeted in a variety of ways including via their operating businesses, family offices, or through the family members themselves.

More than half the attacks were viewed as malicious. And, nearly one-third came from an inside threat, such as an employee intentionally leaking confidential information. Around one-in-ten were deemed accidental.

"The results of these attacks were notable," adds Gooch. "More than a quarter of family offices and family businesses we surveyed lost revenue, one-fifth had their private or confidential information lost or exposed, and 15% suffered either a blackmail or ransom situation, or had a loss or delay in their company's activity." 

Defense 

Glasswall Solutions' Henderson says there are at least four steps ultra-high net worth individuals can do to protect themselves from cyberattacks:

·      Hire a cybersecurity specialist. Henderson says whether it's as a consultant or a permanent position with the company, a cybersecurity expert  can fully brief them on security trends.

  • Define policies and procedures. The consultant's first job should be writing specific policies and procedures for classifying sensitive data. Typically, security experts have various templates they can follow, most notably from the national law enforcement agencies that publish guidance.
  • Have the security specialist explain the varied technology. Once a person gets hired and has established security policies, UHNW individuals need the security expert to explain how no single technology will protect them. Henderson says they are typically more than willing to pay for the protection, but the security expert must explain the elements of defense-in-depth - from antivirus and antimalware software to firewalls, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention tools.
  • Make provisions for the right kind of cyber insurance. UHNW individuals are more than willing to pay for cyber insurance, but it's up to the security expert to explain the need. It's very important that they obtain a policy with fraud protection in the event of a social attack, because not all cyber insurance policies explicitly cover social attacks.

Campden Wealth's Gooch adds that wealthy families should not consider cybersecurity planning merely an IT problem: the company's board or top person also should be involved. Proper cybersecurity awareness training, such as teaching people how to notice suspicious emails, can also prevent breaches.  

Families also need to stay up-to-date on what information has been made public about them and their companies, Gooch says. The more an attacker can learn about a family or a business, the more he or she can organize an attack. Finally, Gooch says adequate incident response plans can control the extent of the damage. Families need to define roles and know who to call in the event of an attack. 

Related Content:

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/25/2019 | 2:47:51 PM
As Ron Kuby once said ages ago
If you are going to sue somebody, make sure they have money.  Same for attackers.   And if you are good at something, never do it for free.  (Joker).  Normal rules apply. 

 

Phishing emails: if you don't need it, don't read it, delete it. 
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12855
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-16
In words.protocols.jabber.xmlstream in Twisted through 19.2.1, XMPP support did not verify certificates when used with TLS, allowing an attacker to MITM connections.
CVE-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.