Daily Archives: January 4, 2019

Massive data leak affects hundreds of German politicians

A number of German politicians have been the target of a massive data leak, one that contains extensive amounts of information. The data in question includes email addresses, private correspondence, passwords, phone numbers, work emails and photos, among other information, and those affected reportedly include journalists and celebrities as well as politicians. According to multiple reports, the data was leaked from the Twitter account @_0rbit -- which has since been suspended -- and the account began sharing the stolen information in December.

Via: TechCrunch

Marriott breach included 5 million unencrypted passport numbers

Marriott has good news and bad news for travelers who have passed through its hotels. The good news is the data breach disclosed back in November, which was originally believed to have exposed the data of more than 500 million people, affected fewer travelers than originally reported (though it didn't specify how many). The bad news is the data lifted from the company included millions of peoples' passport numbers.

Via: Wall Street Journal

Source: Marriott

Social-Engineer Newsletter Vol 08 – Issue 112

Social Engineering Can Make You a Better Person

When social engineering makes the headlines, it is generally as a negative term where S.E. principles are used to initiate, perpetuate, or assist a large hack that exfiltrates data or distributes ransomware. With headlines like “Social engineering at the heart of critical infrastructure attack” and “Iranian phishers bypass 2fa protection offered by Yahoo Mail and Gmail,” it is easy to see how the term has developed negative connotation . However, here at SECOM and SEORG we utilize social engineering with the goal to “leave others better for having met [us]” while employing, practicing, and curating strong social engineering skillsets. Here, we discussed whether all social engineers are bad people and, though people rarely fall cleanly into the category of “good” or “bad,” this conversation is constantly being debated.

Almost a year ago, I made my newsletter debut examining how SE skills could be used in everyday life. Since then, I look for opportunities to practice my craft, improve my abilities, and be a stronger SE whenever I can. After reflecting on this last year, I can absolutely say that social engineering makes me a better person, and if you choose to social engineer as a white hat, it can make you one too.

How Social Engineering Can Make You a Better Person

As social engineers, we must quickly build rapport with our targets, maintain that rapport, and accomplish our goals without being burnt. We do this via email through phishing, phone calls through vishing, and in person via impersonation. As white hat social engineers, the skills needed to accomplish these goals effectively range from utilizing Dr. Robert Cialdini’s influence principles to awareness of vocal tone, body language, and facial expressions. Let’s examine some of the positive skills social engineering can foster:

  • Reciprocity – the reciprocity principle indicates that people will want to return something, a gift, favor, information, etc., that they are given in equal or greater value. However, it is important to remember that the recipient determines the value of what they have received. To effectively use this, an SE must remember that the target needs to value whatever they are given. In personal life, this causes us to think more about what others value over what we may value. This makes us more conscientious and encourages us to prioritize the other person.
  • Awareness of others – in the field, SEs are constantly looking to pick up queues from their targets. What internal jargon do they use? How do they speak? What is their body during the interaction? Do they seem like they want to get away? Are they in a rush? This has caused me, when meeting new people, to study how they are speaking and attempt neutrality until I understand how to communicate most effectively to the person I am speaking with. Additionally, I pay attention to how they are behaving, whether they seem like they need to go, and respect their boundaries. This creates a safe space for the people you interact with.
  • Speaking less and listening more – As an SE, we are usually on the hunt for information. It is challenging to get information out of someone if you’re the one doing all the talking. At home, I employ reflective questioning and allow my friends and family to get more speaking time and work to truly listen to the information they are sharing. People appreciate when they feel heard. This will strengthen your interpersonal relationships and improve your conversation skills.
  • Empathy – you never know where the other person in the conversation is coming from. They could have just gotten rough news, missed breakfast, or not had enough sleep the night before. While listening, really work to understand the perspective the individual is coming from and assume positive intent. Figuring out where a person is coming from and how they may feel connects you more closely to others.
  • Patience – Jumping into an engagement too hard too fast throws your targets off. In my day-to-day life, I have a tendency to want answers RIGHT NOW. However, the value of waiting for others to get on the same page cannot be stressed enough. I am now far more inclined to lay the foundations of a conversation and then wait for the other party to address topics when they are ready.

Social Engineering can make you a Better Person

Great resources to build social engineering and life skills

If you want to practice these skills in your daily life, as well as your career, here are some great resources to start with:

  • The Social-Engineer Podcast hosts great guests who explain unique skill sets and tools that are used in both life and social engineering.

The intention with which you take an action can determine the quality of that action and, broadly, whether it is “good” or “bad.” Should you use your social engineering skills to exploit individuals for your own personal gain, that action is not good. However, by practicing the skillsets of strong social engineers while attempting to leave others better for having met you, you may inadvertently realize you have grown into a better version of yourself. Social engineering can make you a better person, and I challenge you to look for opportunities to practice these skills for the benefit of others in this new year. If you are curious about how to S.E. for good, check out the Social Engineering Code of Ethics. I hope you see yourself grow in the process!

Be secure and be kind,

Written By: Cat Murdock
Twitter: @catmurd0ck



Image: https://twitter.com/tim_fargo/status/628552609360683008

The post Social-Engineer Newsletter Vol 08 – Issue 112 appeared first on Security Through Education.

What does Cybersecurity have in store for 2019?

A guest article authored by Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer, Carbon Black

In every intelligence industry there’s often a central aim: predicting the future. We collect and analyse, dissect and interpret, looking for that essential nugget that will give us the edge over our adversaries by indicating what they’ll do next. While this activity goes on 24/7/365, the end of the year encourages us to go public with forecasts to help navigate the choppy waters on the horizon. This year, because all good intelligence involves collaboration, I’ve combined my thoughts with those of our threat analysts and security strategists to give some insight into the TTPs and sectors likely to be top of the list for cyberattackers in 2019.

1. Destructive attacks and nation-state activity continue to ramp up
    Geo-political tension remained high throughout 2018, bringing with it an associated uplift in cyber insurgency. The US trade war with China is undoubtedly a factor behind the recent resurgence in Chinese cyber espionage and this is set to continue. As well as espionage targeted at infiltration and data theft, our intelligence detected an escalation of attacks where the primary objective was destruction. Our most recent Quarterly Incident Response Threat Report (QIRTR) depicted a wide-spread adoption of C2 on sleep cycles and a high prevalence of attack victims experiencing island hopping and counter incident response.

    In 2019, I’m predicting we’ll see more instances of island hopping, particularly via public cloud infrastructure. We’ll also continue to see a wave of destructive attacks as geopolitical tension continues to manifest itself in cyberspace.

    2. Counter-detection gets more sophisticated
    In 2019, we’ll continue to see attackers attempt to counter detection in the form of Vapor worms – fileless attacks that display worm characteristics and propagate through networks - and IoT worms. As attackers become more sophisticated in their methods, defenders will need to get more adept at spotting evidence of incursions through proactive threat hunting and analysis.

    3. Breach to extortion will become common
      Paul Drapeau, Enterprise Architect in our Threat Analysis Unit, believes our habit of putting our private lives online in the hands of third parties will come back to haunt us in 2019. He told me:

      “Attackers have been actively using ransomware to make a quick buck by locking systems and encrypting files, but this activity could move from compromise of systems to compromise of personal lives. Breaches of social media platforms present a wealth of data to be mined by bad actors. This data could be used to correlate activities between people to find illegal, scandalous or compromising behaviour and then leveraged for traditional blackmail at scale. “Pay up or your spouse/employer gets copies of these direct messages,” an example note might read. We can fight ransomware on our own networks with anti-malware tools or backups, but we depend on giant companies to protect our more personal details.”

      The breach doesn’t even have to be real to result in extortion attempts, as was seen in 2018 with the mass email scam purporting to have compromising video and passwords of the victims. Imagine an attacker building on data from a breach and fabricating message contents and then demanding “ransom” be paid. This type of attack definitely takes more work to pull off, it’s more targeted and difficult, but the payoff could be there. Victims may be willing to pay more money and pay up more readily when it is their real lives and reputations at stake vs. their digital files.

      4. Supply-chain attacks in healthcare
      When it comes to the sectors facing the highest risk, our Security Strategist Stacia Tympanick expects to see a lot more supply chain attacks occur within the Healthcare industry. Healthcare is a tough attack surface to protect and could be a tempting target for nation-state actors bent on disrupting critical national infrastructure (CNI).

      There is so much focus on just making sure that devices are discovered and protected on networks, that managing medical devices on top of this opens up a large attack surface. The trend toward remotely managing patient conditions via IoT devices increases that surface still further – this vector could be weaponised by bad actors.

      Healthcare is also starting to move to the cloud as part of UK government’s ‘Cloud-first’ policy, so cloud providers should be evaluated under a stern eye to ensure that proper and secure procedures/processes are in place to protect patient data.

      5. Steganography makes a comeback
        I always like to make at least one semi-bold prediction each year, and this year I’m saying that steganography makes a comeback. Steganographyis the technique of hiding secret information within innocuous images or documents and it’s an ancient practice – think Da Vinci hiding codes in the Mona Lisa. Examples of steganography are just as hard to detect in the cyber world, with code being masked in legitimate files designed to make it past scanners and firewalls. We could see steganography being used in combination with other attack vectors to create persistence and control mechanisms for malware that’s already running on a compromised network.

        Whatever 2019 holds, here at Carbon Black we’ll be working 24/7 to collect, analyse and interpret the intel that will keep us a step ahead of our adversaries. Wishing you all a happy and cybersafe New Year!

        Tom Kellermann, Chief Cybersecurity Officer, Carbon Black

        Weekly Update 120

        Presently sponsored by: Live Workshop! Watch the Varonis DFIR team investigate a cyberattack using our data-centric security stack

        Weekly Update 120

        And then it was 2019. Funny how quickly it gets away from you, someone just posted on my 2018 retrospective blog post this week and asked why I didn't include my congressional testimony and if I'm honest, it took me a bit to think about why as well (it was in 2017). But we're here now so it's back to business as usual blog wise.

        This week is dominated by the personal finance lessons blog post. This has gotten massive traction this week and has been read by tens of thousands of people. But perhaps what surprises me most is that out of all the feedback I've had, there's only been one negative comment. O-n-e. Frankly, I'm not even sure he actually absorbed the content as the comment was very specifically addressed in the post, but that forms one little part of everything I cover in this week's update. I also touch on the aforementioned 2018 retrospective which I've been doing these last few years as a little reminder of what I've been up to.

        This is (probably?) the longest weekly update I've done so far and I do hope it helps add a bit more personality and context to that finance blog post. Do please continue to share feedback and ask questions, I've really enjoyed seeing people get motivated by it.

        Weekly Update 120
        Weekly Update 120
        Weekly Update 120


        1. If you're working in tech, you're in a better position than just about anyone to have a fantastic financial position (and even you're not in tech, I hope there's a lot of valuable content here)
        2. My 2018 was surprisingly similar to my 2017 in many ways (but hidden within the travel stats was a lot more time spent with my family)
        3. DigiCert is sponsoring my blog this week, and they're talking about the impact of quantum computing on crypto (this is a genuinely fascinating aspect of infosec)