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How To Hack A Human
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User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 11:17:53 AM
This seems very scary. Yes as you explained it could be an email link. I think the social media has a high risk on this.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2014 | 11:35:46 AM
Re: Scary
Absolutely, @shamika. And as you may know, the SE CTF at DEF CON shows how scammers/hackers/attackers can use voice calls to get potentially valuable intel out of their targets. 
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 12:07:25 PM
This has been quite a talked about topic of late and it seems that it will continue to be. 

Some quick tips to combat phishing:

Don't open emails from unknown sources.

Hover over links to scan for misdirection.

Quarantine emails that you are definitely unsure about before opening.


I know I have missed some, does anyone else have quick tips that even non-tech users can follow to combat this type of attack?
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 2:19:45 PM
Re: Phishing
@Ryan true. But wjhat about the emails that looks like to be received from a familiar source.
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 3:58:12 PM
Re: Phishing
Many years ago, people were advised not to open emails from people they don't know, and especially not to open attachments to those messages. Now, malicious emails appear to come from people you do know! So the question is, what emails should the user open? It is simple enough to simply advise a user to first check the validity of an email by asking the sender if indeed that person sent the message. While that may be effective in determining if the email was valid, it does not guarantee that any attachments are "clean", not to mention the inconvenience of having to validate the authenticity of the message in the first place. It really has come to the point where business emails should first go through an external provider (either in the cloud or through an onsite appliance) for inspection and/or cleansing prior to delivery to the recipient. Yes, this is costly, but if a business wants to open messages with some degree of confidence, what choice do they have? Policies and awareness training can only be so effective.

It is a different story altogether for individuals at home, who usually do not want to spend money for this type of service, or who have not had security awareness training. Most of them rely on their anti-malware software to inspect their emails first before they open them, if they even do that. Home computers are likely the biggest segment in botnets because most home users are less careful or even worried about malware in emails. In today's connected environment, it isn't unusual for children to have their own email addresses, and if their emails are accessed via the common use home computer, then the probability of their home computer being compromised increases greatly. Perhaps providers of email services should use email protections prior to delivery, as a public service to their users. I understand that this can be quite costly, but if they want to earn their users' trust, maybe they should bite the bullet and do exactly that. Here's a thought – what if safe computing practices are part of a public school curriculum? As an IT professional and also a taxpayer, I'm all for that; after all, we do live in a highly technological and electronic age.
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 9:19:41 PM
Re: Phishing
@nomli, that is a very difficult task to manage. On a grand scale it is hard to ensure that the majority of users can do validity checks on incoming mail. As far as I know, I don't believe a phishing attack can be detrimental without user input. (I.E. clicking a link, downloading attachment, embedded code, etc) So I would stay stick to checking the links and scanning attachments before downloading. Especially if you are unsure of where the link brings you. This is difficult to manage even with mass education through public systems.

However, I do believe that it is a great idea @GonzSTL to introduce it to the public curriculum become more positive exposure would be beneficial. Its a start.

I think email providers need to have more stringent security functionality built into their email platform for the end user. Until then, it will be difficult to reach everyone consistently.

User Rank: Moderator
10/1/2014 | 10:20:52 AM
Awesome Guest
Chris is a fantastic speaker on the scary topic of social engineering. I recall interviewing him for a piece I wrote at Internet Evolution, where he told me he'd much rather 'play' a janitor than an executive because cleaners and maintenance workers typically operate under the radar, making it simpler for them to access the information social engineers need to hack into a system or break an organization's defenses. While speaking to him, I wondered what I'd let slip, whether he knew more about me than I'd wanted him to, and you come away rethinking your entire social media and social interaction! He's a real eye-opener and I can't wait for this session!
Kelly Jackson Higgins
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
10/1/2014 | 10:26:11 AM
Re: Awesome Guest
I've known Chris for a few years, and he always has interesting insight and anecdotes about what he sees out there in the social engineering threatscape. I am really looking forward to our show today--it will be fun, but also eye-opening. 

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