Welcome!

Java Authors: Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Yakov Fain

News Feed Item

Proofpoint Identifies New Class of 'Industrial Phishing' Attack

'Longlining' Attacks Employ Mass Customization to Penetrate Traditional Enterprise Security Defenses and Effectively Trick End-Users at an Alarming Rate

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/26/13 -- RSA Conference Booth #739 - Proofpoint, Inc., (NASDAQ: PFPT), a leading security-as-a-service provider, today released the results of a wide-ranging study that identified a new class of sophisticated and effective, large-scale phishing attack dubbed "longlining." Longlining, which is named after the industrial fishing practice of deploying miles-long fishing lines with thousands of individual hooks, combines successful spear phishing tactics with mass customization. Using these techniques, attackers are now able to rapidly deploy thousands of unique, malware laden messages that are largely undetectable to traditional signature and reputation-based security systems. Worse, despite their scale, these mass customized phish were effective enough to trick more than 10 percent of recipients into clicking on malicious content capable of taking complete control of PCs and compromising corporate networks.

Proofpoint was able to trace and defeat these attacks for enterprises using Proofpoint Targeted Attack Protection™, the company's recently introduced, big data protection solution.

Phishing Meets Mass Customization

Unlike conventional mass phishing exploits, the 'hooks' (email messages) used in longlining are highly variable rather than identical, making them largely undetectable to traditional signature and reputation-based security gateways. The messages are typically varied by IP address of origination, subject line and body content. The body content also includes multiple mutations of an embedded destination URL, which typically leads to a site with a positive reputation that's been successfully compromised prior to the attack. The compromised Web destinations are loaded with hidden malware either before, during or sometimes after the attack wave has begun.

Through the use of a distributed cloud of previously compromised machines and process automation to create high variance, attackers have been able to combine the stealth techniques and malicious payloads of spear phishing with massively parallel delivery. This means they can cost-effectively send 10,000 or even 100,000 individual spear phishing messages, all capable of bypassing traditional security. Attackers' ability to distribute thousands of email-borne malicious URL 'hooks' in a matter of hours greatly improves their odds of success and their ability to exploit zero-day defects before corporate IT has time to patch vulnerable systems.

"With longlining, cyber-criminals are combining the stealth and effectiveness of spear phishing with the speed and scale of traditional phishing and virus attacks," said David Knight, executive vice president of product management for Proofpoint. "Legacy security systems and techniques simply can't cope with this combination of speed and sophistication, leaving large enterprises increasingly vulnerable to a wide-range of criminal activity and data loss."

Typical Attacks

As part of the new, six month study, which involved over one billion email messages, Proofpoint observed, documented and countered dozens of longlining attacks globally. For example, on October 3, 2012, Proofpoint observed a Russia-based attack with 135,000 emails sent to more than 80 companies in a three-hour period. To avoid detection, the attacker employed approximately 28,000 different IP addresses as sending agents, 35,000 different 'sender' aliases, and more than twenty legitimate websites compromised to host drive-by downloads of zero-day malware. Because of the different agents, sender aliases, URLs and text, no single targeted organization saw more than three emails with the same characteristic. Overall, this attack represented less than 0.06 percent of the targeted companies' mail flow (compared to 19 percent for spam and 11 percent for virus-laden email). The combination of mass customization and proportionally low volume made this longlining attack effectively invisible to traditional anti-spam products, enabling widespread access to corporate networks.

Similar attacks were documented throughout the fourth quarter of 2012 and early 2013. In another representative attack, approximately 28,800 messages were sent in multiple one-hour bursts to over 200 enterprises. The campaign consisted of 813 unique compromised URLs sent from 2,181 different sending IPs. Again, each organization saw no more than three messages with identical content.

Alarmingly Effective

Despite their relatively large scale, longline attacks were alarmingly effective.

  • Ten percent of the email messages containing embedded malicious URLs that escaped perimeter detection were clicked on by the receiving employees
  • All the longline attacks employed so call "drive-by downloads" installed on compromised web-sites. These attacks leverage browser, PDF and Java vulnerabilities to install "rootkits" invisibly with no user action required beyond clicking on the emailed URL and visiting the infected web-site
  • Almost one out of every five clicks (19%) on malicious URLs embedded in email occurred 'off network' when employees accessed their email from home, on the road, or via mobile devices where they were outside corporate perimeter protection

To learn more about longline phishing attacks, download a copy of the Proofpoint whitepaper, Longline Phishing: Email-borne Threats, Cloud Computing, Big Data, and the Rise of Industrial Phishing Attacks at http://www.proofpoint.com/longline-wp.

About Proofpoint, Inc.

Proofpoint Inc. (NASDAQ: PFPT) is a leading security-as-a-service provider that focuses on cloud-based solutions for threat protection, compliance, archiving & governance and secure communications. Organizations around the world depend on Proofpoint's expertise, patented technologies and on-demand delivery system to protect against phishing, malware and spam, safeguard privacy, encrypt sensitive information, and archive and govern messages and critical enterprise information. More information is available at www.proofpoint.com.

Proofpoint Targeted Attack Protection is a registered trademark of Proofpoint, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Add to Digg Bookmark with del.icio.us Add to Newsvine

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

@ThingsExpo Stories
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accelerate their digital channels with APIs, drive partner adoption, monetize their assets, and achieve a...
BSQUARE is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success. For more information, visit www.bsquare.com.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it’s a mix of architectural style...
Connected devices are changing the way we go about our everyday life, from wearables to driverless cars, to smart grids and entire industries revolutionizing business opportunities through smart objects, capable of two-way communication. But what happens when objects are given an IP-address, and we rely on that connection, sometimes with our lives? How do we secure those vast data infrastructures and safe-keep the privacy of sensitive information? This session will outline how each and every connected device can uphold a core root of trust via a unique cryptographic signature – a “bir...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash Inc., will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone a...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...