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October 2018 Cyber Threat Data: Web App Attacks, Ransomware Continue Upward Trend

Throughout 2018, we’ve been sharing monthly updates on the cyber threat data recorded and analyzed by SonicWall Capture Labs, highlighting cyberattack trends and tying it back to the overall cyber threat landscape.

Now, cyber threat intelligence from the SonicWall Capture Security Center is even deeper. The tool now provides empirical data on cyberattacks against web applications. In an increasingly virtual and cloud-connected world, protecting web apps is just as critical as defending more traditional networks.

In October, the overall number of web application attacks continued to rise sharply. We tracked over 1.8 million web app attacks, more than double the volume of attacks for the same time period in 2017.

One factor influencing this is the continued growth explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT), which has added billions of connected devices online, each bringing new and unique potential for vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

While the headline-grabbing news often focuses on processor attacks like Spectre or Meltdown, companies that aren’t using security measures, like SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection with Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI), can leave their standard applications exposed and vulnerable to cybercriminals who are always looking for a weakness.

The volume of ransomware attacks also continued its global upward trend in October. So far in 2018 we’ve seen over 286 million worldwide attacks, up 117 percent from 132 million this time last year. On an individual customer level, that’s 57 attacks per day per customer, an increase from only 14 in October last year.

The growing frequency and complexities of cyberattacks paint a dire picture for global businesses of all sizes. The good news is that by assessing your business’s cybersecurity risk, improving overall security behavior, and ensuring that you are utilizing the right cybersecurity solutions for your business, it’s possible to protect your business from most data breaches.

October Attack Data

Globally, the SonicWall Capture Threat Network, which includes more than 1 million sensors across the world, recorded the following 2018 year-to-date attack data through October 2018:

  • 9.2 billion malware attacks (44 percent increase from 2017)
  • 3.2 trillion intrusion attempts (45 percent increase)
  • 286.2 million ransomware attacks (117 percent increase)
  • 23.9 million web app attacks (113 percent increase)
  • 2.3 million encrypted threats (62 percent increase)

In October 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced:

  • 1,756 malware attacks (19 percent decrease from October 2017)
  • 819,947 intrusion attempts (17 percent increase)
  • 57 ransomware attacks (311 percent increase)
  • 8,742 web app attacks (185 percent increase)
  • 152 encrypted threats (12 percent increase)
  • 12 phishing attacks each day (19 percent decrease)

SonicWall Capture Security Center

SonicWall cyber threat intelligence is available in the SonicWall Security Center, which provides a graphical view of the worldwide attacks over the last 24 hours, countries being attacked and geographic attack origins. This view illustrates the pace and speed of the cyber arms race.

The resource provides actionable cyber threat intelligence to help organizations identify the types of attacks they need to be concerned about so they can design and test their security posture ensure their networks, data, applications and customers are properly protected.

Workplace Cybersecurity Is Everyone’s Responsibility

The cyberthreat landscape is changing. An increasing number of cyberattacks are executed using sophisticated tactics. Earlier this year, SonicWall warned that malware volume increased 102 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to that of 2017.

The report also notes a significant increase in cyberattacks that leverage new variants of malware, including ransomware and encrypted threats. Further, attacks are becoming highly targeted, for example baseStriker and PhishPoint target Office 365 users.

Attackers are evolving to take advantage of workplace technology trends, including the cloud and BYOD. These trends empower workforces to be mobile and productive as demanded by today’s 24/7 hyper-connected reality. Unfortunately, these behavior changes are significantly expanding the attack surface area for cybercriminals to exploit.

“Attackers are evolving their tactics to take advantage of workplace technology trends, including the cloud and BYOD.”

Today, network security means more than just safeguarding data, applications and infrastructure. Employees are not only resources that need protection, but also weaknesses or valuable assets for a stronger cybersecurity posture.

It is, of course, essential for organizations to have necessary security in place to monitor and protect attack surface areas. But no security product can be a silver bullet to stop all cyberattacks. It is necessary to educate and empower the last and most crucial line of defense: your employees.

Build a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

Employees are a key resource for an organization. As driving revenue is the primary objective, safeguarding the organization must also become one of the main responsibilities for employees. With the right frameworks and security awareness training programs in place, they can also be an effective layer of defense — a human firewall.

By extending these responsibilities to all employees, organizations can prevent sophisticated cyberattacks, saving the organization from financial, legal and reputation damages.

Creating cybersecurity awareness and training programs must include what employees must be aware of, what they need to watch out for, what best practices should be leveraged and how to follow them. It also must be easy to report security incidents. These programs must be delivered efficiently, measured and be easy to use.

Since the cyber threat landscape is evolving, the “human firewall” needs continuous signature/intelligence updates in terms of the new threats and how to identify and stop them. This is modern cybersecurity awareness.

Stop the No. 1 Cyberattack Vector: Email

But cybercriminals also know to target the human element to execute attacks. Email is the No. 1 threat vector used by cybercriminals today; more than 90 percent of attacks start with a phishing campaign.

Modern phishing tactics can trick even the savviest users. Attacks that use fake login pages, impersonation and business email compromise (BEC) are difficult to detect and block as these emails do not contain malware.

Organizations would benefit from taking a human-centric approach to email security and include user training and awareness to spot and avoid clicking on phishing email threats. Organizations should train employees to:

Embrace security as one of their key responsibilities. Beware of sudden changes in business practices. For example, email requests for transfers of funds.
Treat any suspicious email with caution. Review the signature and legitimacy of the request.
Look at domain names from suspicious emails. Confirm requests for transfers of funds or confidential information, such as W-2 records.
Exercise extra caution if an email is from a free, web-based account. Do not use the “Reply” option to respond to any business emails. Instead, use the “Forward” option and either type in the correct email address or select it from the email address book to ensure the intended recipient’s correct email address is used.
Check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Spot Sophisticated Phishing Attacks

Want to brush up on your ability to spot a phishing attack? Take SonicWall’s quick Phishing IQ test or download our exclusive brief, “How to Stop Email Spoofing.”

Monitor and Manage Shadow IT

According to Gartner, by 2020 one-third of security breaches will be the result of shadow IT. The ease of SaaS adoption and deployment leads to the following problems:

  • Losing control over sensitive corporate data traversing through public or hybrid clouds and data centers introduces new risks such as unauthorized access, malware propagation, data leakage and non-compliance.
  • Balancing security budgets, shadow IT practices and employee productivity.

To address the above challenges, IT administrators need Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions to provide visibility for what applications are being used and where. This will help them better understand the overall risk posture.

To mitigate the risks of shadow IT and embrace productivity, both organizations and employees must understand the agreement on what constitutes a legitimate application allowed for official use. Employees must be trained to use judgement so that they do not upload sensitive or confidential data into cloud-based applications.

Protect Endpoints, Especially When Outside the Perimeter

Workforces today rely on the same device for business and personal use, resulting in intermingling of business and personal data and applications. This creates an increased risk of security breaches for organizations, including:

  • Unauthorized users gaining access to company data and applications
  • Malware-infected devices acting as conduits to infect company systems
  • Interception of company data in transit on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
  • Compliance with audit and regulatory requirements
  • Loss of business data stored on devices if rogue personal apps or unauthorized users gain access to data

To ensure proper safety, employees must be educated on the risks an endpoint poses to an organization, especially when those devices are frequently used from home, mobile or public networks. This can start with the basics such as:

  • Lock mobile devices when not in use.
  • Don’t use USB drives you don’t trust.
  • Update all software, operating systems and malware signatures.
  • Use secure VPN connections when accessing corporate resources over unsecured networks.
  • Install next-generation anti-virus (NGAV) to stop the latest threats.

Cybersecurity: Our Shared Responsibility

As cyberattacks evolve, organizations need to take a human-centric approach to security. Cybersecurity is everyone’s job. It’s a shared responsibility. It’s critical that structures, guidelines and processes are in place to make employees care and be responsible to remain safe online while at work.

Organizations will greatly benefit by incorporating user awareness and training programs to educate and empower employees who will form a critical line of defense. Cybersecurity is never finished. Make it core to company culture.


About Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) highlights user awareness among consumers, students/academia and business. NCSAM 2018 addresses specific challenges and identifies opportunities for behavioral change. It aims to remind everyone that protecting the internet is “Our Shared Responsibility.”

In addition, NCSAM 2018 will shine a spotlight on the critical need to build a strong, cyber secure workforce to help ensure families, communities, businesses and the country’s infrastructure are better protected through four key themes:

  • Oct. 1-5: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety
  • Oct. 8-12: Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity
  • Oct. 15-19: It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work
  • Oct. 22-26: Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

Learn more at StaySafeOnline.org.

Top 7 Cybersecurity Tips Anyone Can Use at Home

Cybersecurity is not just a topic for enterprises, businesses and government agencies. Home users are just as vulnerable to malicious cyberattacks. As October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NSCAM), it’s important that home users are routinely educated about online safety. To help, we’ve compiled a list of our top seven cybersecurity tips that anybody can apply in their home.

  1. Password Use

    Passwords are your first line of defense online and yet it is the first area where many of us fail. Who hasn’t written a password down on a Post-it note at some point? Here are the basic dos and don’ts of password usage:

    • Do not use the same password across multiple accounts. (We know you do this. Stop it. Now.)
    • Do use strong passwords. Password123 is not a good password. Neither is monkey. Or your cat’s name. In fact, don’t use any of these Top 100 Passwords.
    • Do not share your passwords.
    • Do use a password manager.
    • Do change default passwords. Many smart devices that connect to your network, such as baby monitors, printers or thermostats, may have default passwords.
  1. Safe Online Shopping
    Who doesn’t love to shop from the comfort of their own home? In a couple of clicks you can compare products and prices from multiple retailers, have products delivered to your home in a matter of hours and you can do all this while wearing your pajamas.Here’s how you can safe while shopping online:

    • Look for the padlock or https: Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypt data during transmission. Look for the little padlock in the address bar or a URL that starts with “https” instead of “http,” as the “s” stands for “secure.”
    • When shopping on online marketplaces like eBay, be sure to check seller reviews and reputation level before deciding to buy a product. New accounts or accounts with comments accusing the seller of being a scammer or posting fraudulent listings should be red flags.
    • Avoid shopping while using public computers or public Wi-Fi.
    • Use a credit card or payment option with online fraud protection.
  1. Recognizing Phishing Emails
    Phishing emails look like legitimate company emails and are designed to steal your information. They usually contain a link to a website that will ask for your login credentials, personal information or financial details. These websites are clever fakes designed to take your information and pass it back to the cybercrooks behind the scam.

    In general, if you are not expecting an email from that company, you should be suspicious. Other tell-tale signs of phishing emails are as follows:

    • The email is not addressed to your full name. It will use generic terms like “Dear Customer.”
    • The email contains grammatical or spelling errors.
    • The email asks for personal information.
    • The email contains urgent or threatening language.

    If you think you have received a phishing email, do not click on any links or open any attachments. To be sure, log directly into your relevant account to check for updates or messages or contact the company directly through their website.

    Take our Phishing Quiz to see if you are able to identify phishing emails.

  1. Check Your Financial Statements
    Be sure to monitor your bank accounts and credit card statements for suspicious activity on a weekly basis. If you spot something unfamiliar or see transactions that you are not aware of, it could be a sign that you are compromised.

    Report potential fraud to your bank as soon as possible by calling your bank directly and asking to be connected to the fraud department.

  1. Ransomware 101
    Do you have files on your computer that you care about? Maybe your photos from the last five years? An extensive music library? Copies of resumes, address books, course work or other documentation?

    Do you have a backup of all of that data? You should.

    Ransomware is a type of malware that infects your computer, locking files or restricting your access to the infected systems. Ransomware attacks attempt to extort money by displaying an alert to victims, typically demanding that a ransom be paid in order to restore access to your system or files.

    It’s not just businesses that are targeted by ransomware creators. In fact, home users are often an easier target as most have no data backups, a lack of awareness and little to no cyber security education.

    It all happens in a matter of seconds. You’ve clicked a link in an email or downloaded a malicious document. In a few seconds, all their data will be encrypted and they’ll have just a few days to pay hundreds of dollars to get it back. Unless you have a backup.

    So, how can you protect yourself against ransomware attacks? Here are our top 5 tips:

    • Don’t store important data only on your PC.
    • Have one or two different backups of your data. Use an external hard drive or a cloud offering.
    • Keep your operating system, virus protection and software up to date, including the latest security updates.
    • Don’t open attachments or click on links in suspicious emails. Even if you know the sender, if it doesn’t feel right, delete it.
    • Consider using an ad-blocker to avoid the threat of malicious ads.
  1. Wi-Fi Usage
    Stay safe on public Wi-Fi. In general, don’t interact with websites that require your financial or personal details while you are using public Wi-Fi. Those activities are best kept on secure home networks.
    If you are using public Wi-Fi, avoid unsecured Wi-Fi signals and, where possible, connect using a virtual private network (VPN)
  1. Stop Clicking. (or Recognizing Common Scams.)
    Did you receive an email from your bank asking you to log in and provide your Social Security number or date of birth in order to resolve an issue on your account? Don’t click it.

    PayPal emailed you warning that your account was suspended temporarily and provided you a link to update your account details? Don’t click it.

    Yay! Someone sent you a gift card out of the blue! Just log in to redeem it! Don’t click it.

    There are a lot of scams out there. But you don’t need to live in fear online as many of them follow a similar pattern and can be avoided with a few safe practices. In general, if someone is offering you something for free, you should approach with suspicion and caution. For your financial or commercial accounts, do not click on links in emails, instead go to the official website and log in directly to your account to check for updates.

    And check out the FBI’s list of Common Fraud Schemes.

About Cybersecurity Awareness Month

The 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) highlights user awareness among consumers, students/academia and business. NCSAM 2018 addresses specific challenges and identifies opportunities for behavioral change. It aims to remind everyone that protecting the internet is “Our Shared Responsibility.”

In addition, NCSAM 2018 will shine a spotlight on the critical need to build a strong, cyber secure workforce to help ensure families, communities, businesses and the country’s infrastructure are better protected through four key themes:

  • Oct 1-5: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety
  • Oct 8-12: Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity
  • Oct 15-19: It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work
  • Oct 22-26: Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

Learn more at StaySafeOnline.org.

Report: Business Email Compromise (BEC) Now A $12.5 Billion Scam

Email continues to be the top vector used by cybercriminals, and business email compromise (BEC) is gaining traction as one of the preferred types of email attacks.

BEC attacks do not contain any malware and can easily bypass traditional email security solutions. For cybercriminals, there is no need to invest in highly sophisticated and evasive malware. Instead, they engage in extensive social engineering activities to gain information on their potential targets and craft personalized messages.

What makes these attacks dangerous is that the email usernames and passwords of corporate executives are easily available to cybercriminals on the dark web, presumably due to data breaches of third-party websites or applications.

“Through 2023, business compromise attacks will be persistent and evasive, leading to large financial fraud losses for enterprises and data breaches for healthcare and government organizations,” says Gartner in their recent report, Fighting Phishing – 2020 Foresight 2020.

What is Business Email Compromise?

BEC attacks spoof trusted domains, imitate brands and/or mimic corporate identities. In many cases, the emails appear from a legitimate or trusted sender, or from the company CEO typically asking for wire transfers.

According to the FBI, BEC is defined as a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments. This is a very real and growing issue. The FBI has put up a public service announcement saying that BEC is a $12.5 billion scam.

Types of BEC or Email Fraud

Email has been around since the 1960s and the current internet standard for email communication —  Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) — was not designed to authenticate senders and verify the integrity of received messages. Therefore, it’s easy to fake or “spoof” the source of an email. This weak sender identification will continue to present opportunities for creative attacks.

For example, here is a screenshot of a recent spoofing email that I encountered. The messaging seemingly originated from my colleague. The displayed sender’s name invokes an immediate recognition for the recipient. But a closer examination of the sender’s domain reveals the suspicious nature of the email.

Now, let’s look at the different types of spoofing techniques a threat actor might use to initiate an attack:

Display Name Spoofing
This is the most common form of BEC attack. In this case, a cybercriminal tries to impersonate a legitimate employee, typically an executive, in order to trick the recipient into taking an action. The domain used could be from a free email service such as Gmail.

Domain Name Spoofing
This includes either spoofing the sender’s “Mail From” to match that of the recipient’s domain in the message envelope, or using a legitimate domain in the “Mail From” value but using a fraudulent “Reply-To” domain in the message header.

Cousin Domain or Lookalike Domain Spoofing
This type of attack relies on creating visual confusion for the recipient. This typically involves using sister domains such as “.ORG” or “.NET” instead of “.COM,” or swapping out characters, such as the numeral “0” for the letter “O,” an uppercase “I” for a lowercase “L.” This is also sometimes referred to as typosquatting.

Compromised Email Account or Account Take Over (ATO)
This is carried out by compromising legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds or data theft.

Best Practices for Stopping BEC Attacks

Concerned your organization could fall prey to business email compromise? Here are some email security best practices that you can implement to protect against sophisticated BEC attacks.

  1. Block fraudulent emails by deploying Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) capabilities.
  2. Enable multi-factor authentication and require regular password changes to stop attacks from compromised accounts.
  3. Establish approval processes for wire transfers.
  4. Deliver periodic user-awareness training for a people-centric approach to combat email attacks.

How to Stop Email Spoofing

Whether it’s CEO fraud, forged emails, business email compromise (BEC), impostor emails or impersonation attacks, all email spoofing attacks present a dangerous risk to organizations. Review the solution brief to gain four key best practices to help mitigate the email spoofing attacks that impact your business.

May 2018: Cyberattack Volume Continues to Rise, Ransomware Attempts Jump 299 Percent

The very latest cyber threat intelligence for May 2018 depicts increases in a number of attack areas, particularly when comparing against 2017 cyber threat data. Through May 2018, the SonicWall Capture Labs threat researches have recorded:

Global Cyberattacks — May 2018

  • 2 million malware attacks (64 percent year-over-year increase)
  • 9 million ransomware attacks (78 percent year-over-year increase)
  • 238,828 encrypted threats (142 percent year-over-year increase)

Global Cyberattacks — Year to Date

  • 5 billion malware attacks (128 percent increase )
  • 2 million ransomware attacks (299 percent increase)
  • 2 million encrypted threats (283 percent increase)

To put these numbers in a more practical light, it’s helpful to break them down by customer. In May 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced:

  • 2,302 malware attacks (56 percent year-over-year increase)
  • 62 ransomware attacks (69 percent year-over-year increase)
  • Almost 94 encrypted threats
  • Over 14 phishing attacks per day

With each passing month, cybercriminals continue to perpetrate cyberattacks at an ever-accelerating rate. It is interesting to note that although encrypted traffic is actually down slightly when compared with last year, encrypted threats have more than doubled. This points to cybercriminals who are more aware of the efficacy of encrypting their attacks.

In addition, phishing attacks have increased by almost 40 percent since last month. To better educate your end users and follow secure email best practices, use the phishing IQ test to increase their suspicions when opening emails, particularly from unknown senders.

As the cyber war continues between threat actors and security professionals, arming your organization with the latest cyber threat intelligence is critical to implementing or improving a sound security posture. As long as vulnerabilities exist, there are threat actors working to exploit them.

Find Threat Metrics When You Need Them

Would you like to keep up-to-date on threat metrics, security news and worldwide cyberattacks? The SonicWall Security Center has all of this and more.

VISIT THE SECURITY CENTER

Phishing Emails: The Spear of the Cyber Attack

As we know, email is the most popular attack vector used by threat actors to carry out targeted cyber attacks. In fact, more than 90 percent of cyber attacks start with a phishing email campaign. It is the easiest way for a cyber criminal to enter a network and execute tactics to accomplish an objective — be it data exfiltration, delivering a malicious payload or phishing for credentials.

Using social engineering, the tactics of accomplishing these objectives are highly sophisticated and targeted. Email is a primary collaborative tool to share documents, such as PDFs and Microsoft Word files, and URLs that could be weaponized with malware. Logically, phishing has evolved with this user behavior.

How email attachments are weaponized

File attachments, such as Microsoft Word documents and Adobe PDFs, have the ability to include embedded URLs, macros and scripts. This makes it possible for these files to work as executable malware. These malicious file attachments are used as delivery vehicles for ransomware and other zero-day threats. Here are some of the most popular methods files can be weaponized:

Embedded macros and scripts that hide malicious payloads
First, attackers embed a macro that obfuscates malicious payloads in the document. They then use personal information gathered through social engineering to mislead the user into enabling the macro content to run and infect the victim’s computer. These exploits take advantage of software vulnerabilities and then launch the intended payload to infect the computer.

Embedded macros and scripts that download malware from external sites
Documents can also be embedded with scripts that call external Command & Control (C&C) servers or websites to download malware inconspicuously. Often, these downloaded payloads take the form of ransomware, trojans, infostealers or botnets that make your system part of the malicious networks that carry out attacks on behalf of cyber criminals.

Fake attachments and embedded links
In some cases, attackers send documents or fake attachments, such as a PDF or a Word file, with embedded URLs. After clicking on the URL, the victim is redirected to a sign-in page that looks and feels authentic. These sign-in pages are well crafted and designed to deceive even educated users. Unsuspecting victims often fall prey by entering their credentials into the sign-in page.

High-profile phishing attacks

Google, January 2017
This phishing scam targeting Google users was clever and deceiving. Victims received an email that seemed to come from a familiar contact. The email included a legitimate file attachment that looked like a PDF or Word document. But the attachment was, in fact, an image with an embedded URL. Victims who clicked the attachment for a preview were redirected to a well-designed Google sign-in page that looked authentic. The fake page prompted the victim to enter credentials that enabled the cyber criminals to compromise the user’s Google account.

DocuSign, May 2017
A company that provides digital document-signature services, DocuSign, was the victim of a targeted phishing campaign. Users received an email that appeared to come from DocuSign and included a “Review Document” link. Once the link was clicked, a weaponized Word document with embedded malicious macro was downloaded. When the user enabled the content, the macro called a C&C server to download malware payload stealthily onto the victim’s computer.

Netflix, November 2017
Toward the end of last year, Netflix made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A successful and sophisticated phishing campaign targeted the streaming service’s subscribers. This attack did not include any file attachments. Instead, attackers crafted a personalized email informing them that their account was suspended. They were asked to take an action by clicking on a fake link that redirected the then to a well-designed web page to collect credentials and credit card information.

Pyeongchang Olympics, January 2018
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was one of the first victims of 2018 via a deadly, targeted spear-phishing attack. Appearing to be sent by National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), the email included an attachment — a malicious Microsoft Word document with the original file name 농식품부, 평창 동계올림픽 대비 축산악취 방지대책 관련기관 회의 개최.doc (“Organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics”). This spear-phishing campaign’s objective was to establish back doors into the networks once the victim opened the Microsoft Word document attachment.

How to stop phishing and other email attacks

Email security is no longer just about blocking mass spam and phishing campaigns. The above incidents indicate the evolution of how cyber criminals use email as a threat vector, and how they use the versatility of PDFs and Microsoft documents to their advantage.

These are advanced email threats that are carefully planned and highly targeted attacks. Traditional anti-spam and signature-based anti-malware simply cannot stop these attacks.

A multi-layered security approach provides the best defense against these email threats. The layers should include advanced threat protection features, such as sandbox analysis for email file attachments and embedded URLs, and email authentication technologies such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

It is also true that not all sandboxes offer equal protection. The cloud-based SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service blocks the most evasive malware with its multi-engine approach.

Capture ATP now includes the recently announced, patent-pending Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM) technology. RTDMI blocks malware that does not exhibit any malicious behavior or hides its weaponry via encryption.

By forcing malware to reveal its weaponry in memory, the RTDMI engine proactively blocks mass-market, zero-day threats and unknown malware utilizing real-time memory-based inspection techniques. This means, by design, RTDMI can sniff out malware obfuscated within PDF files and Microsoft Office documents by threat actors.

With high performance, fast scan times and block-until-verdict capability, Capture ATP offers comprehensive protection against advanced cyber threats.

To learn more about our analysis of the cyber arms race, and what you can expect in 2018, download a complimentary copy of the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report.

Download the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report

The cyber arms race is a challenge we face together. And it’s the core reason we’re committed to passing our findings, intelligence, analysis and research to the global public via the SonicWall 2018 Cyber Threat Report.

Phishing Threats – How to Identify and Avoid Targeted Email Attacks

Phishing threats have been around for years. By now anyone can easily detect a fake email, right?

Wrong. How confident are you that you wouldn’t divulge your password, credit card info or online identity? Here is a quick refresher on phishing threats and what you can do to protect yourself.

What is Phishing?

As you may already know, phishing threats involve malicious emails that attempt to get you to disclose your personably identifiable information (PII) to compromise your personal identity or corporate data.

Hackers create emails that look like official communications from familiar companies. These are sent to millions of unsuspecting addresses in hopes that someone will follow the links and share sensitive information that the hackers can exploit. These phishing emails employ a variety of techniques.

How to Spot Phishing Attacks

The best way to protect yourself from phishing threats is to recognize and avoid these common phishing tactics:

  • Generic greetings: The opening lines of phishing emails are often very vague and general in nature.
  • Typos or Poor Grammar: A poorly written email is less likely to have come from a legitimate company. In addition, do not be tricked if the email happens to include a legitimate-looking logo.
  • Urgency: Phishing emails often sound alarmist, trying to scare you into taking action (and sharing your information) immediately.
  • Fake Links: Phishing emails routinely obscure the URL addresses, and instead take you to an unsecured site where your sensitive data is solicited. To see exactly where a link will take you, simply hover over it. If in doubt, don’t click it. Instead, open a new browser session and manually enter the address (i.e., don’t copy and paste) you want to visit.
  • Attachments: Delivered via email attachments, malware that is executed (i.e., the attachment is opened) allows a hacker to exploit vulnerabilities on your computer Never open an attachment unless you are sure it is legitimate, safe and expected. Be cautious with any unexpected invoices from companies you’re not familiar with, as attachments might contain malware that installs upon opening.
  • Spoofed Sender: Makes it easier for a hacker to impersonate someone you’d normally trust (e.g., coworker, bank, government agency)

Take the Phishing IQ Test

Interested in seeing how well you are at telling the difference between a legitimate website and one that is a phishing attempt? Take the SonicWall Phishing IQ Test to find out.

Securing Email in the Age of Ransomware and Phishing Attacks

Email security has become a big concern for organizations, thanks to phishing campaigns that deliver ransomware. Recently, there has been no shortage of notable cyber attacks. The Google Docs attack, Docusign phishing attackGannet phishing attack, and Jaff ransomware and its variants were all delivered through phishing emails.  Most recently, the WannaCry ransomware attack was spread through an SMB vulnerability.

According to a survey by the SANS institute, spear-phishing and whaling attacks are increasing dramatically. Spear phishing was identified as the second most significant type of attack (ransomware takes the honors for the top spot).  In the case of spear phishing attacks, cyber criminals are carrying out extensive social engineering activities to gather personal information and craft messages that appear from trusted sources to gain the victim’s confidence.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to accurately detect all bad emails, especially those containing attachments, without slowing down email to such an extent that it impacts employee productivity. In many cases, critical business communications need to be delivered promptly, without any delay or being lost in junk or spam folders. In addition, traditional signature-based technologies are proving to be ineffective in stopping phishing emails that contain malicious payloads such as zero-day/unknown malware and ransomware.

In today’s landscape, an effective email security solution should:

  • Align with and complement your network security solutions
  • Integrate with network sandboxing to scan all you SMTP traffic and email attachments
  • Provide granular administrative control over settings and must be able to set policies such as “Tag a subject line” or “Strip email attachment” in cases where communication is of the utmost importance
  • Feature anti-spoofing authentication mechanisms such as DKIM, SPF and DMARC, to protect against impostor emails
  • Offer encryption and data leakage prevention (DLP) capabilities for outbound protection

Email is the top attack vector, and most cyber attacks typically start with a phishing or spear phishing attack. Almost every organization has deployed some sort of email security solution. However, the threat landscape is constantly evolving and today’s advanced threats are designed to bypass traditional security techniques. Now is the right time to evaluate the currently deployed solution and analyze gaps in your security posture. To reduce risk exposure, email security must use a multi-layered approach. Read our solution brief to learn about the critical capabilities of next-generation email security here.

SonicWall Protects Customers from the Latest Phishing Attacks

Ransomware attacks have been in the headlines a lot of late. Did you know that 65% of all ransomware attacks happen through phishing emails? Therefore, email security needs to be a major focus when delivering security awareness training. It is likely that future variants of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack will be delivered via phishing emails.

As reported earlier this month, some Gmail users fell victim to a massive phishing attack that frightened many… a phishing attack that targets all your contacts. Now let us look at how gmail users were susceptible to the phishing attack.

THE PHISHING EMAIL

Gmail users received an email (from a known sender) that was an invitation to view a shared Google Doc. After clicking the link in the invitation email, users were directed to a legitimate “Google – Choose An Account” screen, after which they were prompted to authorize Google Doc to access their Gmail account.

Simply click “Allow”…  With no login prompt…

Sound suspicious yet?

THE HACK

At this point, it was not Google Docs requesting access – but actually a malicious app.  As Reddit carefully detailed, this hack would actually:

  1. Bypass any 2-factor authentication controls
  2. Scour your Gmail contacts list, and replicate itself by sending emails (on your behalf) to everyone you’ve ever emailed
  3. At this point, it would also have access to your Gmail account, including the ability to read previous messages

THE PROTECTION

SonicWall™ Email Security now integrates with the Capture Advance Threat Protection service, to deliver fine-grained and user-transparent inspection of SMTP-based traffic. The cloud-based Capture ATP service can scan a broad range of email attachment types, analyze them in a multi-engine sandbox, and block dangerous files or emails before they reach your network. SonicWall Email Security with Capture ATP gives you a highly effective and responsive defense against email-borne threats, including ransomware, phishing, spoofing, spam and viruses.

WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO

To avoid phishing scams, below is a refresher on what you can do to not fall prey:

  • Don’t click on URLs in emails without checking its full path and understanding where it is leading to.
  • Don’t download any plug-ins from the email link itself. Go to the vendor’s (Adobe, Microsoft etc.,) website to download plug-ins
  • User 2-factor authentication, wherever possible

Finally, if you were a victim of this attack, following are a few steps you can take to resolve the situation.

  • Go into your Google Account Permissions page and remove access privileges for the Google Docs account
  • Google also encourages users to report phishing emails in Gmail

Lastly, test your knowledge on all-things-Phishing related by taking the SonicWall Phishing IQ Test… and avoid being scared of emails!

Download Solutions Brief: What your next-gen email security needs to stop advanced threats.

Announcing New and Enhanced SonicWall Email Security 9.0 with Capture ATP to Detect Zero-Day

Ransomware attacks in 2016 grew by 167x year-over-year to 638 million. As today’s malware and ransomware pose ever evolving malicious, zero-day threats, organizations need to defend their network’s beyond their perimeters. SonicWall introduces a powerful defense: the new SonicWall Email Security 9.0 integrates with our award-winning Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Service. This unique combination delivers a cloud-based, multi-engine sandbox that not only inspects email traffic for suspicious code, but also blocks ransomware, zero-day and other malicious files from entering the network until a verdict is reached. This release is available in cool new SonicWALL hardware appliances, virtual appliances and Hosted Email Security service.

In his blog our President and CEO Bill Conner, highlighting SonicWall’s 2017 Annual Threat Report, points out that email is a highly vulnerable attack vector for cyber criminals. Employees fall victim all too often to ransomware, phishing and unknown threats. The enhanced SonicWall Email 9.0 with Capture cloud-based sandboxing technology detects these advanced threats. It scans a range of email attachment types, analyzes them in a multi-engine sandbox, blocks them until reviewed by an administrator, and rapidly deploys remediation signatures. Signatures for newly discovered malware are quickly generated and automatically distributed across the SonicWall GRID Threat Network, preventing further infiltration by the malware threat. We offer organizations a choice of administrative options ranging from removing an offending email attachment to blocking an entire message. The result is higher security effectiveness and faster response times.

Innovative features of SonicWall Email Security 9.0 include:

  • Advanced Threat Protection: Integrates Capture cloud-based sandboxing technology for detection of zero-day threats such as ransomware, for fine-grained inspection of SMTP traffic
  • Next-generation Email Protection: Incorporates anti-spam, anti-virus and anti-spoofing functionalities to not only detect and prevent spam and other unwanted email, but also scan email messages and attachments for ransomware, Trojan horses, worms and other types of malicious content.
  • Improved Office 365 Support: Enhances security for multi-tenant environments by providing a method for ensured, mapped delivery of emails for SonicWall Hosted Email Security environments
  • Updated Line of Appliances: Refreshes SonicWall’s line of Email Security hardware appliances, helping customers to better face threats delivered by email.
  • Encryption Protection: Supports not only SMTP Authentication, but also the encryption service feature enables any email containing protected data to be automatically encrypted, routed for approval or archived.
  • Policy and Compliance Management: Enables an administrator to enact policies that filter messages and their contents as they enter or exit the organization. This allows organizations to meet regulatory requirements based on government legislation, industry standards or corporate governance activities.

“As a loyal SonicWall channel partner, we at Napa Valley Networks were thrilled to see SonicWall resume operations as a standalone cybersecurity company and go back to its roots of driving a deeper focus on technological innovation,” said Julie Neely, founding partner of Napa Valley Networks. “SonicWall Email Security 9.0 with Capture Advanced Threat Protection Service is a clear demonstration of the company’s continued commitment to better serving its channel partners.”

“With the continued onslaught of ransomware, malware and other cyber-attacks, our customers are looking to us to provide them with solutions that allow them to spend more time conducting day-to-day business while staying abreast of the threat landscape. SonicWall allows our engineers, and most importantly our customers, to sleep at night! At Sterling Computers, our mission is to help government and education customers get the most out of their tech infrastructure,” said Steve Van Ginkel, Sterling Computers’ vice president of Business Development & Partner Alliances.

“KHIPU Networks Limited have been using the SonicWALL Email Security software/appliance for over 10 years,” said Andrew Brimson, Managing Director, KHIPU Networks Ltd. “Email Security has been instrumental in protecting our business interests from threats and attacks as well as protection against data leakage. We have found the SonicWALL Email Security software easy to configure, good for reporting and tailorable to our changing requirements.”

Learn more and download the SonicWall Email Security 9.0 data sheet and see all of the enhancements.