October 29, 2014, Mark Manousogianis, Information Security Consultant, Coalfire Labs
It was a typical morning, just like any other for Annie. She arrived at the office just in time to fill her coffee mug and get to her desk to read her email that had been piling up since Friday. After reading through the standard office wide emails she came across one from the help desk.
It wasn’t rare to get an email from the help desk, but this one caught her eye because IT was apparently testing out a new email service. It promised to be faster, more reliable and have better spam filtering than the current email. As a bonus, the IT department was offering a $20 Starbucks gift card for anyone willing to test new email service.
Looking forward to the improvement of the email service, and of course being a lover of White Chocolate Mochas, Annie immediately followed the link in the email and logged into the new email server. Unfortunately, the thing apparently was still buggy because every time she tried to log in she just kept getting redirected back to her company’s home page.
Annie figured that she would give it another try tomorrow and see if they worked the bugs out…
Meanwhile, in a basement 3 states over, James was patiently waiting for unsuspecting users of Annie’s company to click the link that he had sent them. Yes, it was James all along. There was no new email portal, there was no Starbucks gift card. There was only a guy who was trying to steal login credentials to Annie’s company, and it had worked…
This is typical of the threat of social engineering. These targeted spear-phishing attacks are just some of the threats to the “people” aspect of your organization. This story is a dramatization for the purpose of demonstrating the end-user experience, but is one of the tactics used by Coalfire labs in phishing engagements.
Have a scary story of your own? We'd love to hear your story and help you combat your IT monsters!
Learn more about Coalfire Labs:
Vulnerability Scanning & Assessments
Read our other IT Security Horror Stories:
The 100 Million Dollar Getaway
The Ghosts Inside
Breaching a bank in 20 minutes
Past Horror Stories
Truth is SCARIER than Fiction Redux
Is your Network an Unsegmented Haunted House?
Digging your own grave with Default Credentials
Slow Network, Big Phish
The Case of the Phantom Blood Red Team
A Tale of Spooky Hosted Images
Ghost in the Machine
Tale of the Fake IT Rep
Truth is Scarier Than Fiction
The Case of the Phantom Technician
Mark Manousogianis — Information Security Consultant, Coalfire Labs
Coalfire started in 2001 with a simple idea – cyber threats are increasing, compliance mandates are getting more complicated, and a well-designed cybersecurity program can help fuel your overall success.
Coalfire helps organizations comply with global financial, government, industry and healthcare mandates while helping build the IT infrastructure and security systems that will protect their business from security breaches and data theft. The company is a leading provider of IT advisory services for security in retail, payments, healthcare, financial services, higher education, hospitality, government and utilities.
The Coalfire Board of Directors provides invaluable guidance for the organization and reflects Coalfire’s dedication to achieving success for our customers.
Coalfire’s executive leadership team comprises some of the most knowledgeable professionals in cybersecurity, representing many decades of experience leading and developing teams to outperform in meeting the security challenges of commercial and government clients. With diverse backgrounds in IT systems security, governmental security, compliance, and reducing risk while implementing the latest enabling technologies (such as the Cloud and IoT), our leaders understand the challenges customers face.
With a passion for quality, Coalfire uses a process-driven quality approach to improve the customer experience and deliver unparalleled results.
Created in honor of the late co-founder of Coalfire, the Richard E. Dakin Fund at The Denver Foundation is supporting scholarship programs at several universities for promising college students studying cybersecurity and related fields.
Security is a team game. If your organization values both independence and security, perhaps we should become partners.
The increased need for cyber security has become a common enterprise priority across the globe. However, industry requirements for effective cyber risk management are as distinct as the individual entities under fire. Enterprises and government organizations need more than an off-the-shelf audit to provide an effective threat assessment. They need industry- and organization-specific insights, tools and processes to protect digital assets and ensure compliance.
Coalfire can help cloud service providers prioritize the cyber risks to the company, and find the right cyber risk management and compliance efforts that keeps customer data secure, and helps differentiate products.
“Success” at a government entity looks different than at a commercial organization. Create cybersecurity solutions to support your mission goals with a team that understands your unique requirements.
The financial services industry was built upon security and privacy. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, a strong vault and a guard at the door won’t offer any protection against phishing, DDoS attacks and IT infrastructure breaches.
The continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of care. Interoperability is the central idea to this care continuum making it possible to have the right information at the right time for the right people to make the right decisions.
Maintaining network and data security in any large organization is a major challenge for information systems departments. However, in the higher education environment, the protection of IT assets and sensitive information must be balanced with the need for ‘openness’ and academic freedom; making this a more difficult and complex task.
When it comes to cyber threats, the hospitality industry is not a friendly place. Hotels and resorts have proven to be a favorite target for cyber criminals who are looking for high transaction volume, large databases and low barriers to entry.
The payments industry is undergoing rapid changes and unfortunately, an increasing risk for data breaches. Cyber criminals are growing increasingly businesslike, and payments leaders need to move quickly to cover their cyber risk.
The food and beverage industry is under attack from cyber criminals intent on stealing payment information. The food and beverage industry makes up the highest percentage of breach investigations, at nearly 73 percent, according to Visa.
The global retail industry has become the top target for cyber terrorists, and the impact of this onslaught has been staggering to merchants. To secure the complex IT infrastructure of a retail environment, merchants must embrace enterprise-wide cyber risk management practices that reduces risk, minimizes costs and provides security to their customers and their bottom line.
Private enterprises serving government and state agencies need to be upheld to the same information management practices and standards as the organizations they serve. Coalfire has over 16 years of experience helping companies navigate increasing complex governance and risk standards for public institutions and their IT vendors.
Technology innovations are enabling new methods for corporations and governments to operate and driving changes in consumer behavior. The companies delivering these technology products are facilitating business transformation that provides new operating models, increased efficiency and engagement with consumers as businesses seek a competitive advantage.
Cybersecurity has entered the list of the top five concerns for U.S. electric utilities, and with good reason. According to the Department of Homeland Security, attacks on the utilities industry are rising "at an alarming rate."
Cyber risk management, advisory, technology and compliance services. Manage risk and maximize return on investment to prevent data breaches and theft. Coalfire’s solutions are led by a team of industry experts that help enterprise organizations understand a wide range of compliance and risk management initiatives, which enables a consistent cybersecurity framework across the organization.
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