October 26, 2015, Price McDonald, Director Labs Professional Services
In today's security landscape, companies face daily threats to their reputation and intellectual property. The typical response to these threats is to purchase a tool or a service claiming to be a magical silver bullet that can respond to all "cyber" threats. In reality, the quest for a security silver bullet is a fool's errand, and any solid security program will revolve around continuous evaluation and training against emerging threats.
One day a client of Coalfire's decided to bring us in for a Red Team assessment with a specific goal in mind: gain access to their finance management platform in order to prove or disprove the possibility of taking control of their multibillion dollar brokerage accounts. This would not only allow them to test their security controls, but it would also have the added benefit of testing their response capabilities in the event we were able to access this proverbial treasure trove.
After weeks of meticulous planning, Coalfire launched several successful attacks of spearphishing, physical and technical attacks, and eventually gained access to the target’s facility as any one of their numerous third-party contractors would. From there, the assessors roamed around the facility for hours using fake badges culled together from various open source platforms. While the main goal of this assessment was to access the keys to their financial kingdom, there was also significant emphasis put on staying undetected. For the next several weeks, Coalfire maintained persistent access and ultimately reached their end goal with the bonus of also gaining access to their accounts directly through their financial providers. As it turns out, multi-factor authentication is less than helpful when someone leaves their accounts logged in.
While it is not uncommon for Coalfire to be successful in these types of engagements, what came to light was truly shocking. Not only did Coalfire have access to transfer millions of dollars, the target was unable to correlate any logs or data that would allow them to track the source of the breach. Had this not been an exercise, they would have had no idea how or when these actions had taken place. While major breaches are not uncommon, our simulated attack clearly proves the value of training response staff and continuously testing to ensure any blind spots are addressed before an evil hacker creates a nightmare for your organization.
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
Price McDonald — Director Labs Professional Services
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.
The Executive Team is comprised of experienced senior leaders who oversee Coalfire’s key business units. Tom McAndrew, shown right is the Chief Executive Officer for Coalfire. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading cybersecurity experts in both the commercial and government sectors.
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.
Expert assessments that provide an accurate understanding of what you are trying to protect, the inherent and residual cyber risk to your enterprise and the maturity of the your security program and underlying controls
Customized services to help CISOs and Senior Management develop cybersecurity strategy, implement controls, and govern a security program
Cybersecurity assurance services provided on a co-sourced basis to internal audit departments, or via independent audits commissioned directly by the board of directors or senior management
Adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity
Make more informed security-related decisions
Design, engineer, and scale with confidence
Certification and Accreditation (C&A) process for DoD
Get FedRAMP authorized with the leading 3PAO
Reducing Financial IT Security Risk
Meet your FISMA authorization needs
General Data Protection Regulation
Health data protection for all shapes and sizes
The most rigorous approach to meeting HIPAA requirements
An internationally recognized approach to information security
ITAR, EAR, and DFARS Advisory and Assessment
Cyber security for electric grid critical infrastructure
Protect Controlled Unclassified Information for Nonfederal
Payment Application Security Validation
PCI Data Security Standard Compliance
Establish and report controls to differentiate your organization
Malware and Vulnerability Research, Open Source Tools, and Opinions
Understand vulnerabilities and implement remediation before they’re exploited
Obtain, preserve, and examine digital evidence
Protect sensitive information systems with regular check ups
Secure the design, development, and deployment of your applications
Test your organization’s defense against a simulated real-world attack
Employ solutions for prevention and recovery
Secure physical and digital IoT solutions with advisory, assessment and technical testing for makers, operators and users to empower the way we live and work.
Control your Compliance
Easily identify IT vulnerabilities
Streamlining PCI Compliance