Think before clicking on that Link!

The team here at MJD are becoming increasingly aware of instances of links in emails which appear to “do nothing” when clicked on. This is not something to be ignored and needs to be report to your MSP immediately. If nothing appears on your screen or nothing seems to have happened as a result of clicking on a link, this does not mean that nothing has ACTUALLY happened. Unfortunately, this more than likely means that information has been gleaned from the registry of your device to enable access to emails, to form an incredibly clever socially engineered attack.

As we all are now more aware of the classic SPAM emails which try to entice the recipient to respond and generate dialogue to encourage the transfer of funds to ensure an some threat is not carried out, the cyber criminals are increasing the ante, and we now have to be aware of social engineering. Cyber criminals are leaning towards social engineering due to it being easier to gain the crucial information they need through our human nature to trust, rather than try to hack your network or password. It’s a lot easier to enter the correct password first time, than to have to work with their tools to figure out the correct password. As it is for us in business, time is money to cyber criminals too.

You may be asking what exactly is social engineering then. This is the process of manipulating an individual and the situation to encourage them to give up confidential information and therefore potential access to your network and devices. These are all based on the way we think and act as human beings and using this to their advantage. We have shared this video before, but we think it is a great example of demonstrating their ability to manipulate the situation to achieve their desired outcome. It really is worth spending 11 minutes of your life watching this video and encouraging all your colleagues to watch this too!

The current example we are responding to and working to resolve with clients is whereby the information stolen from the PC registry when the link is clicked gives them the login credentials for the email account on the PC.  This then allows them to setup rules within Outlook, to send copies or completely forward certain emails to another email address.  Most commonly, invoices are targeted.  All the emails are then monitored for a period of time until they identify their best target, and a simple email is sent from within the account to explain bank details have changed.  And they now hope that the process on the other side will allow for this to slip through.  These attacks are highlighting how important it is that IT security doesn’t stop at your firewall or anti-virus scanner.  IT security encompasses your people and your processes too.

If after reading this you’d like more information on training for your business or to discuss and review your security policies the team here at MJD would be more than happy to help.  Let’s make your IT work for YOU!