Microsoft Calling?

Last week we experienced a flurry of cybersecurity threats and attacks. If you’re wondering why, it’s because cybercriminals know that when we’re distracted, we’re vulnerable. I can’t think of anything that happened last week that could have been distracting, can you? 🙂

Ransomware remains the leading attack type, albeit more evolved and sophisticated. One of the more alarming trends we’re seeing in these attacks is the hackers are not just locking you out of your data, but they’re also stealing your data and threatening to release it to the public if you don’t pay. Sadly, regardless of payment, we’re also seeing that data eventually appear on the dark web. The attack vector continues to be email phishing tactics – links in emails and attachments being the most common. 

employees working in an open office environmentBut last week we saw a spike in a different style of attack, and it’s concerning. Numerous corporate IT staff nationwide reported having received calls and meeting invitations purportedly from leading technology companies. Microsoft, IBM, Palo Alto, and others, were being spoofed on phone calls and emails. By spoofed, we mean the caller ID’s contained the names of the company they claimed to have been calling from. The emails were primarily emailed invitations for meetings to discuss the company’s IT architecture. The calls were people asking very detailed questions about the network that was in place at the organization. 

It may well be that these calls are marketing teams attempting to collect information to be used in subsequent sales and marketing campaigns. However, it could also be hackers attempting to get the information they can use to penetrate your security and attack your network. So what are we to think of this?

This type of information gathering, coupled with the continuing spike we’re seeing in sophisticated malware attacks, could be coincidental, but we should assume they are not. We need to adjust our security recommendations. Instead of preaching to click carefully, not to open attachments unless verified, etc, we need to add keep your mouth shut to the list. This needs to be the mantra taught throughout the organization, even down to the front desk staff. They all hold the keys to the castle. Even though their credentials may be restricted, their access information can be used to get into your network, and then malware can be used to escalate their privileges, where the real damage can begin. 

Don’t let the storm around you distract you from the task at hand. That’s the opportunity criminals are looking for. Don’t let them have it. 

Be smart and be safe. Suspect every email.  Suspect every phone call. Don’t drop your guard. 

Let us know if you have any questions. If you want specific techniques and strategies for reducing your cyber risk, give us a call.  We’re happy to help.

If you have any questions or if you are concerned about your organization’s cybersecurity, give us a call at (800) 970-0402. We’ll be happy to help.

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