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.

Risk

9/3/2008
07:24 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

The Steady Rise Of Targeted Trojan Attacks

Look before you click may be a good idea for a new IT security public awareness campaign. Consider the reports coming out of South Korea that North Korean spyware made it's way onto the computer of a S. Korean army Colonel. There's no reason why this can't happen to you.

Look before you click may be a good idea for a new IT security public awareness campaign. Consider the reports coming out of South Korea that North Korean spyware made it's way onto the computer of a S. Korean army Colonel. There's no reason why this can't happen to you.Here's the news from The Chosun IIbo:

A North Korean spyware e-mail was reportedly transmitted to the computer of a colonel at a field army command via China in early August. The e-mail contained a typical program designed automatically to steal stored files if the recipient opens it. It has not been confirmed whether military secrets were leaked as a result of the hacking attempt, but their scale could be devastating given that the recipient is in charge of the South Korean military's central nervous system -- Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Information (C4I).

Now, imagine if that happened to your company, only it's not military secrets, but corporate secrets, preannounced earnings reports, or the financial information of customers. It could happen, and it only requires a single employee clicking the wrong link, or inserting the wrong USB drive.

These types of attacks aren't anything new. In mid-2005, the U.K.'s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) warned that Trojan-horse attacks were targeting certain U.K. companies and government agencies.

This is from a SecurityFocus news story at the time:

This week, security company Symantec sorted through low-volume e-mail threats submitted to its response team for analysis and found several that had targeted U.S. government agencies or had been submitted to Symantec from government sources in the United States. (Symantec is the parent company of SecurityFocus.)

"This appears to be a very specific virus writer targeting government agencies and, not as (other articles) suggested, targeting only U.K. government agencies," said Dave Cowings, senior business intelligence manager for Symantec.

More recently, InformationWeek covered a warning from the SANS Internet Storm Center explaining that executives were being targeted with phishing e-mails that used fake subpoenas as bait. Click on the link and you're sent to a Web site crafted to push a Trojan to the system of the victim:

The SANS Internet Storm Center on Monday warned that CEOs of some companies are being targeted with a phishing attack involving fake federal subpoenas sent via e-mail.

"We've gotten a few reports that some CEOs have received what purports to be a federal subpoena via e-mail ordering their testimony in a case," said John Bambenek, a security researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Internet Storm Center handler, in an online post. "It then asks them to click a link and download the case history and associated information. One problem: It's totally bogus."

These types of targeted attacks are, when it comes to security, the new black. Gone, for the most part, are the days of high-impact worms. It's about getting a foothold into your organization, and that can be done via a phishing attack, or from a bogus e-mail that looks to come from someone you know, to a fake profile on a social networking or microblogging site designed to do nothing more than infiltrate a targeted company, agency, or person of interest.

One of the best defenses against these types of attacks isn't anti-malware, content filtering, or IDS -- it's a workforce made aware of the dangers.

How do you fight targeted attacks aimed at your company? Let me know. And consider following my security (and other) observations throughout the day on Twitter.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
When It Comes To Security Tools, More Isn't More
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  1/11/2021
US Capitol Attack a Wake-up Call for the Integration of Physical & IT Security
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  1/11/2021
IoT Vendor Ubiquiti Suffers Data Breach
Dark Reading Staff 1/11/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15864
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-17
An issue was discovered in Quali CloudShell 9.3. An XSS vulnerability in the login page allows an attacker to craft a URL, with a constructor.constructor substring in the username field, that executes a payload when the user visits the /Account/Login page.
CVE-2021-3113
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-17
Netsia SEBA+ through 0.16.1 build 70-e669dcd7 allows remote attackers to discover session cookies via a direct /session/list/allActiveSession request. For example, the attacker can discover the admin's cookie if the admin account happens to be logged in when the allActiveSession request occurs, and ...
CVE-2020-25533
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
An issue was discovered in Malwarebytes before 4.0 on macOS. A malicious application was able to perform a privileged action within the Malwarebytes launch daemon. The privileged service improperly validated XPC connections by relying on the PID instead of the audit token. An attacker can construct ...
CVE-2021-3162
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
Docker Desktop Community before 2.5.0.0 on macOS mishandles certificate checking, leading to local privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-21242
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
OneDev is an all-in-one devops platform. In OneDev before version 4.0.3, there is a critical vulnerability which can lead to pre-auth remote code execution. AttachmentUploadServlet deserializes untrusted data from the `Attachment-Support` header. This Servlet does not enforce any authentication or a...