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Why Email Is Such a Dangerous Platform (And How to Protect Yourself)

Malicious emails are one of the cyber realm’s most widespread epidemics. Over 215 billion business and consumer emails are received daily, and with such an overwhelming flow of emails arises a very attractive opportunity for threat actors to easily penetrate victims’ online activity and lure them in to giving up credentials, downloading malware and more. According to the Symantec Internet Threat Security Report, one out of 412 emails contains a malware attack.

Although it seems as though cyber awareness is somewhat increasing due to the attempt to keep up with rapid advances in attack techniques, preying on human error continues to be extremely rewarding for threat actors. In retrospect, many email attack victims are dumbfounded when they realize that the email they so willingly acted upon is quite obviously suspicious upon second look. On top of that are highly thought out, sometimes tailored malicious emails, which do not even alert relatively cyber-aware people.

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Shlayer the MacOS Trojan Slays its Way into the New Year

While it does not boast any special or complex installation tactics, Shlayer’s distribution vector has made it a tremendous success - the malware has been the most prevalent MacOS strain since its debut two years ago, never falling off its leading spot. Shlayer uses a well-known infection tactic – pressing on a bad link directs the victim to a fake Adobe Flash update.

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ThreatSTOP Premium Feed Spotlight Series: Level Up Your Protection with ThreatSTOP NOD, Powered By Farsight

One of the chief problems in cybersecurity is the inherent reactivity of most forms of defense. An attack has to be observed, analyzed and reverse-engineered. THEN, protection can be developed. This means attackers are successful, and inside environments, for a period of time before the attack is noticed, before the indicators for that attack can be extracted, and before a policy can be disseminated to stop it.

There has been a wide variety of research in recent years around this problem. How to speed up the cycle to recognize attacks and to potentially get out in front of attackers to block them before the attacks start. Both my own PhD research and other researchers have noticed that one attribute that is overwhelmingly an indicator of maliciousness in DNS is “newness,” that is to say, the newer a domain is, the more likely that it is bad. More importantly, when a domain is new and otherwise benign, it is rarely in meaningful use except by the organization that’s setting up whatever will go there.

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Domain Ranking Services: How Do Illegitimate Domains Get High Ranks?

 

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