How to rob a bank with phishing and malware

OK, I know I keep going on about email phishing, but unfortunately, it’s on the increase. Last year Google Research produced a report in which they identified that 12.4 million individuals have potentially been the victim of phishing with over 1.9 billion usernames and passwords readily available on the blackmarket. To help combat phishing and other security attacks Google recently released updates to it’s G SuiteGCP and Chrome Enterprise products. These updates include more proactive phishing and malware detection using Machine Learning.

As an example of how cybercriminals are using phishing attacks here is an infographic and article from Europol on how the cybercriminals responsible for the Carbanak and Cobalt malware attacks targetted over 100 financial institutes and stole over 1 billion euros!

phishing and malware
Source: Europol

The attacks all started with simple spear phishing emails sent to bank employees. These emails, impersonated legitimate companies and customers of the bank, had malicious malware attached. Once downloaded, the malicious code allowed the criminals to remotely control the victims’ infected machines, giving them access to the internal banking network which they used to then infect the servers controlling ATMs, manipulate bank records, and transfer money from one account to another.

There is no doubt that these were well-coordinated and sophisticated attacks, however as the method of deploying the malware was via a spear phishing attack it could have been prevented. All staff need to be aware of how phishing attacks work, and what to look for. Here are my top five things you can do to improve cybersecurity

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