Phishing For Industrial Control Systems

Phishing For Industrial Control SystemsMandiant has published a report describing phishing emails that have breached organizations in the industrial sector. Mandiant explains that the majority of phishing attacks are untargeted and opportunistic. Most attackers wait to see which organizations they can compromise, and then decide how to monetize their successful attacks.

“Most of the phishing activity we observed across our industrial-themed phishing samples was distributed en masse,” the researchers write. “Opportunistic phishing attempts often use weaker methods that are easily detected and blocked by automated systems such as enterprise email scanning solutions or endpoint protection software. Most often, this activity is associated with common financial crime schemes such as BEC, credential phishing, money mule and shipping scams, IT remote access or individual extortion and fake blackmail.”

When phishing attacks breach organizations that work in the industrial sector, the attackers can sell their access to threat actors that are interested in carrying out more targeted attacks against operational technology (OT) systems.

“Groups involved in opportunistic phishing typically hold no interest in specific industries or organizations,” Mandiant says. “However, actors that succeed in compromising industrial victims could then take advantage by selling the access to other actors at a premium if they realize that it provides potential access to OT. Regardless of the complexity of a phishing compromise, a successful attack can help actors cross the initial borders of target networks without attracting attention.”

Mandiant notes that phishing is one of the easiest ways to breach an organization.

“Both sophisticated and simple network intrusions require threat actors to identify a means of initial access, and these actors frequently turn to phishing attacks,” the researchers write. “As such, OT defenders need to reconsider how to detect and hunt for industrial-targeted phishing. Setting up mechanisms to identify early compromises that pose a risk to OT helps defenders decrease the risk of minor threats evolving into impactful events that disrupt production processes.”

New-school security awareness training can give your organization an essential layer of defense by enabling your employees to recognize social engineering attacks.

Comprehensive Anti-Phishing Guide

Spear phishing emails remain a top attack vector for cybercriminals, yet most companies still don’t have an effective strategy to stop them. Roger Grimes, KnowBe4’s Data-Driven Defense Evangelist, will cover techniques you can implement now to minimize cybersecurity risk due to phishing and social engineering attacks.


Here's what he'll share:

  • Immediately start your test for up to 100 users (no need to talk to anyone)
  • Select from 20+ languages and customize the phishing test template based on your environment
  • Choose the landing page your users see after they click
  • Show users which red flags they missed, or a 404 page
  • Get a PDF emailed to you in 24 hours with your Phish-prone % and charts to share with management 
  • See how your organization compares to others in your industry

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Topics: Phishing

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