3 Tips to Deal with Online Impersonators and Impersonation Attacks

3 Tips to Deal with Online Impersonators and Impersonation Attacks

The online space makes it easier for people to pretend to be others. People can easily create fake profiles with the click of a button. Facebook says they removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of 2019.

Source: Facebook

Instead of hacking into your account, an attacker can just pretend to be you. Bad actors can easily take your photos and create a fake social media profile or mock up an email address that looks close to your work email. From there they can try to contact people close to you and engage in impersonation attacks.

3 Types of Impersonation Attacks

Bad actors who try to impersonate others can engage in any of the following attacks:

1. BEC/CEO Fraud: In these attacks, attackers impersonate companies or high-level executives like CEOs. They then contact employees or business partners and ask them to wire transfer money into a fraudulent account. BEC attacks are very common and losses are typically in the excess of $100,000 according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

2. Romance Scam: Colloquially known as catfishing, this scam involves bad actors trying to woo their victims by pretending to be another person. This attack involves stealing photos from real life people and crafting a persona from those images. In some cases, an attacker will pretend to be a well-known celebrity. They build a rapport with their victim to establish trust. Once trust is established, they will concoct a story that will move the victim into giving them money.

3. Vishing: Scammers will not only impersonate people online but also through telephone calls. Vishing is a type of phishing attack where attackers call potential victims and pretend to be a government authority or help desk support. They try to scare victims by telling them they have bank, computer or fraud issues, or they will try to entice victims into giving information by saying they’ve won a prize.  

What to Do If You’re Being Impersonated Online

Anyone can be a victim of online impersonation. Here are three things you can when dealing with a fake account:

1. Report the user: It’s important to try to get the fake account taken down as soon as possible. Report any false accounts that are in your name. Do not engage with the fake account. They could get hostile and end up escalating the situation to something worse.

2. Warn others: Having multiple accounts in your name can confuse your friends, family and employees. If they accidentally mistake the impostor for you, valuable data or finances could be lost. Let your contacts know that you are being impersonated. If the account is doing any specific actions, like messaging your employees to buy gift cards, make sure you warn others about these actions too. 

3. Monitor for other incidents: Check for other fake accounts on other websites like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Make sure that there aren’t any other impersonators elsewhere. Continue to monitor time and time again to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.

How to Avoid Falling Victim to Impersonation Attacks

1. Awareness: In order to combat these attacks, you need to know what to look out for. Engaging in a security awareness course like our Secure IT – Cyber Awareness Training will help employees understand the threat landscape and learn what they can do to help build defenses.

2. Speak up: Employees may be hesitant to doubt the veracity of a message from an executive or boss but if they are receiving strange messages, it’s important to alert someone about it. Creating a good security culture in your workplace will encourage employees to speak up about potential security incidents. By directly asking the person who supposedly sent the email or having a second opinion from another co worker, it can help curb potential fraud or data leaks.

3. Increase email security: A secure email solution like Secure IT – Mail will help protect your inbox and can filter out malicious messages. This solution provides advanced security technologies like AI and SIEM to protect your inbox from threats.

Threats of the Week – July 15, 2019

Threats of the Week – July 15, 2019

Agent Smith Malware

A newly discovered piece of Android malware that replaces portions of apps with its own code has infected more than 25 million devices, according to security firm Check Point. Check Point’s researchers named the malware “Agent Smith” because of the methods it uses to attack a device and avoid detection.

The malware doesn’t steal data from a user. Instead, it hacks apps and forces them to display more ads or takes credit for the ads they already display so that the malware’s operator can profit off the fraudulent views. Check Point says the malware looks for known apps on a device, such as WhatsApp, Opera Mini, or Flipkart, then replaces portions of their code and prevents them from being updated.

Source: The Verge

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Agent Smith malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

CVE-2019-1170

Mozilla has released security patches for vulnerabilities in Firefox. Some of these bugs showed evidence of memory corruption and is presumed that with enough effort that some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code.

Source: Mozilla

How do you protect yourself?

Update Firefox to version 68.

eCh0raix Ransomware

A newly discovered form of ransomware is targeting network storage devices by brute-forcing weak credentials and exploiting known vulnerabilities in their systems.

Dubbed eCh0raix after a string of code, the new form of file-locking malware emerged in June and has been detailed by cybersecurity researchers at Anomali. The ransomware specifically targets QNAP network attached storage (NAS) devices produced by Taiwanese firm QNAP systems, which has offices in 16 countries and customers around the world.

The attacks are opportunistic, with the initial infection coming via unsecured, internet-facing ports and the use of brute-force attacks to bypass weak login credentials. NAS devices make appealing targets for cybercriminals dealing in ransomware, because they’re used to store critical data and backups – but despite this, the devices don’t tend to be equipped with security software.

Source: ZDNet

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against eCh0raix ransomware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Backing up your data and having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

3 Types of Insider Threats to Look Out For

3 Types of Insider Threats to Look Out For

Most organizations may see hackers as their biggest threat but security threats can happen from inside their company as well. According to Verizon, 57% of database breaches involved insider threats within an organization. 

Insider threats can occur in various ways and are not always intentionally malicious. For example, an employee who has their credentials leaked can inadvertently become an insider threat if a hacker compromises their account to steal data. In this case the employee may seem like they are a bad actor when in reality their account is being controlled by a malicious actor. 

Understanding the different types of insider threats can help organizations ensure they have effective measures in place to prevent insider threats from harming their company. 

insider threat

Source: Verizon

What Is An Insider Threat?

An insider threat is someone who has authorized access to an organization and misuses that access and puts an organization’s security and data at risk. They can be former or current employees, stakeholders, partners or someone who frequently access your organization’s premises.

Insider threats are serious because they know their way around an organization. They will most likely have access to or know how to gain access to important data. Since they have authorized access, they can be hard to detect or determine if they are using their access maliciously.

A well-known example of an insider threat is the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Snowden famously leaked highly classified information from the NSA, where he used to work.

3 Types of Insider Threats

Unintentional Leak

Employees accidentally leaking information or putting data at risk end up acting as an insider threat. This type of insider threat doesn’t have malicious intentions but may use poor cybersecurity habits that end up threatening an organization’s security.  According to research by SolarWinds, more than 50% of organizations reported that employees pose the biggest risk for insider abuse or misuse.

The best way to combat employee error is to have a good cybersecurity culture. Cyber awareness through cybersecurity training can help users avoid common mistakes, such as clicking on a phishing link, that put organizations at risk.

Malicious Intentions

This type of insider threat wants to use their access maliciously for their own desires. They may be a disgruntled employee looking to cause havoc on their former employer or an employee trying to use their access for financial or personal gain. Research from Accenture found that nearly one in five healthcare employees said they would sell confidential information like login credentials to unauthorized parties.

Of course, organizations are unable to read the minds of their employees let alone know their intentions. In order to combat this type of threat, using advanced technology like a SIEM can help detect suspicious behaviour, such as employees accessing unusual data or systems or if your network is communicating with a malicious server. Organizations should also disable the accounts/access of recently departed employees as soon as possible.

Insider Accomplice(s) 

This threat occurs when the person colludes with other employees or with external parties to steal information.

An example of this type of insider threat would be the the incident with the “Wolf of Manchester.” In 2015 an insurance worker partnered with a former employee to steal customer data and used that information to commit fraud. The pair made £18,250 (approximately $30,000 CAD) by using the stolen data. 

To mitigate this kind of insider threat, it’s important that you are protecting your critical assets with privileged access management and monitoring. Limiting access to important data to only those who need it will help you keep track of who has access to the data. Monitoring your networks for suspicious behaviour can help detect fraudulent activity or abuse of access.

Threats of the Week – July 8, 2019

Threats of the Week – July 8, 2019

Golang Malware

A new form of malware has been spotted in the wild by cybersecurity companies which say the code’s main focus is the fraudulent mining of the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency.

The spreader malware is based on the open-source Go programming language.

Source: ZDNet

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Golang malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

CVE-2019-2104

Android has released its monthly security bulletin. Security patch levels of 2019-07-05 or later address all of these issues.

The vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to bypass user interaction requirements in order to gain access to additional permissions.

Source: Android

How do you protect yourself?

Check your Android for updates to the latest version.

Sodin Ransomware

The ransomware, named Sodin, takes advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in the Windows operating system, which means that victims don’t even need to download and run a malicious attachment (which was typically essential for the success of a ransomware campaign).

Instead, all they need to do is find a vulnerable server and send a command to download a malicious file called “radm.exe.” This then saved the ransomware locally and executed it.

Source: ITProPortal

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Sodin ransomware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Backing up your data and having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.

5 Business Impacts of Cyber Attacks

5 Business Impacts of Cyber Attacks

The impacts of a cyber attack can be devastating, and many executives are now recognizing cybersecurity as a key business driver. A recent report from Radware surveyed executives worldwide and found that security remains a top priority in the enterprise, with 72% of executives citing information security as a recurring agenda topic in every board meeting. With the rise of cyber attacks and data breaches, it’s getting more important for businesses understand the impacts these attacks can have on their operations.

Source: Cisco 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report

Cyber Attacks and Your Business

Cyber attacks are no longer just the problem of the IT department. A single cyber attack can cripple an entire business’s operations. Organizations cannot ignore the long reaching effects of cyber attacks. Here are 5 ways a cyber attack can negatively impact your business.

1. Revenue loss: Cyber attacks like DDoS attacks can cripple websites and render them unusable for customers. Customers who are unable to access a business’s online store may look to a competitor to make their purchases. Cyber attacks can also lead to future revenue loss if customers decide they no longer want to do business with the company.

2. Brand reputation: Brand reputation is not only important for a business’s customer relationships but also for their relationships with other businesses and stakeholders. Building trust is an integral part of an organization’s relationship with others. A single cyber attack can cause damage to a brand’s reputation. Consumers will not want to do business with an organization that puts their information at risk. As a result, stakeholders will not want to invest in your business. Research from Bitglass has found that publicly traded companies suffer an average drop of 7.5% in their stock values after a breach and that it takes an average of 46 days for stock prices to return to their pre-breach levels.

3. Operational disruptions: Cyber attacks can cause service disruptions to an organization’s infrastructure. Organizations can either shut down due to an attack or be forced to divert their efforts into stopping the attack. Actions like having to unplug and isolate computers as well locating threats, negotiating ransoms, restoring backups, removing viruses, etc. disrupts business productivity. Additional activities like having to conduct investigations and implementing new resources can also cause additional disruptions after an attack.

4. Hidden financial costs: Cyber attacks have many hidden costs that can cause an attack to cost more than just the initial damage. For example, when Wasaga Beach got hit by ransomware, they paid a negotiated ransom of nearly $35,000. However, the cost of the attack didn’t stop there. The town had to hire consultants and make changes to their IT infrastructure. Overtime and productivity losses also added extra costs. Overall, the ransomware attack cost the town $251,759. That’s more than seven times the amount the town negotiated to pay for their ransomed servers. Other hidden costs can also include legal fees, PR/communications strategies and compliance penalties.

5. Loss of Data: Cyber attacks put your data at risk. Hackers can steal any kinds of data, including those from your customers and employees. Once your data is in the wrong hands a number of things can occur. Hackers can hold it for ransom, sell it on the dark web or use it in other malicious ways. Hackers not only target personal identifiable information but also intellectual property. Information regarding product designs, marketing campaigns, strategies and blueprints can also be at risk. Losing this type of data can affect the competitiveness of your business.

How to Protect Your Business

No matter the size of your business, cybersecurity protection is vital. Using advanced cybersecurity solutions like Jolera’s Secure IT, combined with cyber aware staff, can help protect your business and prevent these kinds of attacks.

Threats of the Week – July 2, 2019

Threats of the Week – July 2, 2019

Silex Malware

A new strain of malware is wiping the firmware of IoT devices in attacks reminiscent of the old BrickerBot malware that destroyed millions of devices back in 2017.

Named Silex, this malware began operating earlier today, about three-four hours before this article’s publication.

The malware had bricked around 350 devices when this reporter began investigating its operations, and the number quickly spiked to 2,000 wiped devices by the time we published, an hour later.

Source: ZDNet

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Silex malware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.


CVE-2019-5439


VideoLAN has released a security advisory that affects VLC media player 3.0.6 and earlier.

A remote user can create some specially crafted avi or mkv files that, when loaded by the target user, will trigger a heap buffer overflow (read) in ReadFrame (demux/avi/avi.c), or a double free in zlib_decompress_extra() (demux/mkv/utils.cpp) respectively

If successful, a malicious third party could trigger either a crash of VLC or an arbitratry code execution with the privileges of the target user.

Source: VideoLAN

How do you protect yourself?

VLC media player 3.0.7 addresses the issues. This release also fixes an important security issue that could lead to code execution when playing an AAC file.


Sodinokibi Ransomware


The Sodinokibi Ransomware has been spotted being distributed through malvertising that redirects to the RIG exploit kit. With the use of exploit kits, Sodinokibi is now using a wide stream of vectors to infect victims with the ransomware.

With the addition of exploit kits to the distribution arsenal, this ransomware is poised to be a big player in the ransomware space.

Source: Bleeping Computer

How do you protect yourself?

Proper security measures must be in place to defend against Sodinokibi ransomware and similar threats. Ensure your systems have the latest patches installed. Backing up your data and having proper up-to-date endpoint security provides a cross-generational blend of threat defense techniques to protect systems from malware.