Sunday, September 9, 2018

Simple Phishing e-mails behind world's largest Hacks

Four years ago there was a malware attack on Sony. In 2016 Bangladesh Bank suffered an $80 million hacking heist, the largest cybertheft of a financial institution ever. Last year, there was the attack of ransomware "WannaCry." WannaCry has claimed 200k victims across 150 countries. All attacks are attributed to state-sponsored hacking from North Korea.
A criminal complaint by the DoJ against North Korean programmer Park Jin Hyok revealed their tactics. Some of the biggest cyberattacks in the world still relied on the simplest trick in the book -- phishing emails, spear phishing emails in particular.

Spear phishing is targeted email aimed specifically at an individual or organization. Using carefully crafted emails with identifiable personal data, the messages appear to come from legitimate sources. If the victim falls for it, and many do, opening an attachment or link installs malware on their machine or network.
The group cased their targets extensively before launching spear phishing attacks.
In some cases they used the guise of a lucrative job opportunity. Some phishing emails were disguised as messages from Facebook or Google. In the Sony hack, fake Flash videos installed malware.