The Benevolent Janitor

The Benevolent Janitor – your last line of defense against Cybercrime, Ransomware, Fraud and Piracy on the cyber seas. 

As Andrew Turner points out in his Cisco Cybercrime and Fraud blog, “Modern Tales of Piracy and Plunder”, pirates have cool names: Calico Jack, Captain Blood, Blackbeard.  Not to mention the ubiquitous Jolly Roger flag and a great song by Jimmy Buffett (skip the ad).  As Turner points out, pirates have long been romanticized in books and movies.  

Janitors, not so much.  Maybe Hong Kong Phooey and Good Will Hunting?

Our reality today is that cybercrime and fraud are on the rise and increasingly professional.  According to Turner’s research on the FBI’s statistics from 2007-2017 cybercrime is up 700% and is equivalent to the value of the illicit drug trade - $450 to $600 Billion globally – according to another great report Turner references from McAfee. 

If you are really interested in the growing professionalism of cybercriminals and global impact statistics, please download the McAfee report here.  One excerpt from the article discusses “CaaS” – Cybercrime as a Service.  It will get your attention.  

Suffice it to say that every business and every person is under threat of ransomware and fraud attacks.  

We have seen real world examples of this exact type of fraud across industries.  The classic example is the CEO’s identity and email are compromised.  Fraudulent emails are sent requesting accounting, or sometimes customers, to release funds. If the accounting department or customer is not vigilant, they will perform the task requested by their superior and the money is stolen. 

In the McAfee report, the sophistication and services offered by criminal and state-sponsored organizations make it easy to start or advance criminal behavior.  Criminals no longer resort to breaking a window or door to rob you. They know that most businesses have a private door or “Employee Entrance”. These entrances are known as virtual private networks (VPN) and Remote Desktop (RDP) applications. These entrances are typically needed and now with so many doors all they need are:

  • Business Address (VPN or RDP Address)
  • Door Key (A Username)
  • An Alarm Code (Your Password)

There are many ways to get this information including brute force attacks and phishing emails.

Through phishing attacks, hackers try to get the potential victim to give up their password information. If they do get this information, they will typically login into the Outlook Web Access and add a forwarder to everything sent and received through that account as we see in the CEO example. And/or they can install a malicious add-in and all the while you know nothing. 

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your business?  The first tactic would be to reduce your digital footprint.  Do not put pictures, phone numbers, email addresses of your executives on your website.  Secondly, educate your team on what to look for and how to identify suspicious emails.  Most importantly, never click on links in a suspicious email. 

From a technical perspective, implement the following features in Office 365; Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC).  In addition, we highly recommend enabling Multi-factor authentication (MFA).  

On the cyber seas of today, piracy, ransomware, fraud and criminal behavior in general is rampant, professional and growing.  Be diligent, secure your systems, lock your doors, lock your computer screen when you step away from your desk (better yet, set a policy to auto-lock it after 10 minutes of inactivity). and do not rely on the friendly nature of the janitor and office cleaning crew.  After all, they are the last people to leave your office and have enough to do. 

For more information about how Modo Networks helps our customers secure their systems, please reach out to us at (214) 299-8040 extension 108.

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