Spear Phishing Email Making Rounds

Monday, August 26, 2013 @ 06:08 PM gHale

The FBI issued a warning about a spear-phishing email campaign out there that makes the message look as thought it was coming from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The subject of the email is “Search for Missing Children,” and there is a zip file attached containing three malicious files.

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FBI officials said email recipients should never open attachments or click links in suspicious emails.

Spear-phishing attacks are a tool by attackers conducting targeted, rather than opportunistic, attacks. Those responsible for the attack may be seeking precise information stored on an organization’s network or systems rather than monetary gain.

Every organization is at risk of being the target of a spear-phishing attack.

When weighing available options on appropriate mitigation strategies, the FBI said organizations must begin by asking themselves the following:
• If proprietary data, personally identifiable information, research and development -related data, email, or other critical information ended up stolen, what would the current and future consequences be?
• Has my organization evaluated data criticality based on risk?
• What are the main protection areas in the organization?

To mitigate the threat of spear-phishing and other targeted attacks, DHS’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends the following actions:
• Always treat unsolicited or unexpected e-mail containing attachments or links with caution, even (and perhaps especially) when the email appears related to known events or projects.
• Monitor for and report on suspicious activity, such as spear phishing emails, leading up to significant events and meetings.
• Educate users about social engineering and email phishing related to high-level events and meetings.
• Measure expected network activity levels so changes in patterns end up easily identified.

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