Cyberattackers and scammers will try every trick in the book to lure you into parting with your information.
Data can be considered something of currency in itself; it can be sold on for profit in the underground, used to compromise online accounts, and in the worst cases, can be utilized for identity theft or making fraudulent purchases.
Software and web vulnerabilities are often exploited in attacks in order to collect data in bulk. Hardly a day goes by when you do not hear of yet another data breach with so-many-millions of records exposed.
On an individual level, the services we use on a daily basis are also of interest to scammers and attackers keen to get their hands on your information — and calendar systems are not exempt.
Calendar-based attacks and scams have been floating around the Internet for years, but it was only in 2016 when such schemes began to impact users in vast numbers. Apple device users began receiving notifications on their Calendar app, made possible through unprotected sharing mechanisms.
In one case noted by ZDNet, an advert for ‘Ray-Bans’ popped up and those that fell victim for the invite ended up having their credit card details stolen.
At the time, Apple rolled out a report function for spam notifications appearing in Calendar, Photos, and iMessage and later included a feature to turn off the automatic addition of events altogether. However, this patch-over only highlighted an ongoing problem impacting not just the iPhone and iPad maker, but Google and Microsoft too.
In the name of collaboration, invitations which appear on your calendar can be useful functions, especially for those in business and management. However, scam artists exploit what are usually valuable features for users.
See also: Remote attack flaw found in IPTV streaming service
Back in February, researchers from GreatHorn came across a Microsoft scam which used the spoofed name and email address of a chief executive at the company they were targeting.
Victims were sent a calendar invitation relating to a fake meeting organized by the ‘CEO,’ and those that clicked the link were taken to a phishing website designed to look like Microsoft Outlook for the purpose of stealing their account credentials.
Now, it appears scammers are targeting Google Calendar. Kaspersky researchers said on Monday that multiple cases of the latest invite scheme were detected throughout May, in which fraudsters sent unsolicited event invitations by abusing a “free online calendar service that adds invitations and events to users’ calendars automatically.”
The spam message blast exploited a smartphone-based feature for Gmail which automatically added and notified potential victims of the fraudulent calendar invitations.
These pop-up notifications were not as sophisticated as the aforementioned business scam which pretended to be legitimate communication from a CEO; rather, the invitations they connected to contained a phishing link which sent victims to a survey website offering money for questionnaire completion.
TechRepublic: Want less spam? Learn how to integrate Spamassassin with Postfix Mail Server
However, to receive their winnings, the victims would need to enter their credit card details alongside names, phone numbers, and addresses.
“The ‘calendar scam’ is a very effective scheme, as most people have become used to receiving spam messages from emails or messenger apps,” said Maria Vergelis, security researcher at Kaspersky. “So far, the sample we’ve seen contains text displaying an obviously weird offer, but as it happens, every simple scheme becomes more elaborate and trickier with time.”
CNET: Here are 6 MacOS Catalina security changes coming from Apple this fall
Calendar abuse isn’t going away anytime soon, but thankfully for Google Calendar users, there is an easy way to prevent these annoying — and often malicious — campaigns. Open up Google Calendar, click Settings, and uncheck the box next to “Events from Gmail / Add automatically.”
Previous and related coverage
Have a tip? Get in touch securely via WhatsApp | Signal at +447713 025 499, or over at Keybase: charlie0
Phish Fight: Securing Enterprise Communications
Yes, much of the world may have moved on from email to social media and culturally dubious TikTok dances, yet traditional electronic mail remains a foundation of business communication. And sadly, it remains a prime vector for malware, data leakage, and phishing attacks that can undermine enterprise protections. It doesn’t have to be that way.
In a just released report titled “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” GigaOm Analyst Simon Gibson surveyed more than a dozen enterprise-focused email security solutions. He found a range of approaches to securing communications that often can be fitted together to provide critical, defense-in-depth protection against even determined attackers.
Figure 1. GigaOm Radar for Email Phishing Prevention and Detection
“When evaluating these vendors and their solutions, it is important to consider your own business and workflow,” Gibson writes in the report, stressing the need to deploy solutions that best address your organization’s business workflow and email traffic. “For some it may be preferable to settle on one comprehensive solution, while for others building a best-of-breed architecture from multiple vendors may be preferable.”
In a field of competent solutions, Gibson found that Forcepoint, purchased recently by Raytheon, stood apart thanks to the layered protections provided by its Advanced Classification Engine. Area 1 and Zimperium, meanwhile, are both leaders that exhibit significant momentum, with Area 1 boosted by its recent solution partnership with Virtru, and Zimperium excelling in its deep commitment to mobile message security.
A mobile focus is timely, Gibson says in a video interview for GigaOm. He says companies are “tuning the spigot on” and enabling unprecedented access and reliance on mobile devices, which is creating an urgent need to get ahead of threats.
Gibson’s conclusion in the report? He singles out three things: Defense in depth, awareness of existing patterns and infrastructure, and a healthy respect for the “human factor” that can make security so hard to lock down.
When Is a DevSecOps Vendor Not a DevSecOps Vendor?
DevOps’ general aim is to enable a more efficient process for producing software and technology solutions and bringing stakeholders together to speed up delivery. But we know from experience that this inherently creative, outcome-driven approach often forgets about one thing until too late in the process—security. Too often, security is brought into the timeline just before deployment, risking last minute headaches and major delays. The security team is pushed into being the Greek chorus of the process, “ruining everyone’s fun” by demanding changes and slowing things down.
But as we know, in the complex, multi-cloud and containerized environment we find ourselves in, security is becoming more important and challenging than ever. And the costs of security failure are not only measured in slower deployment, but in compliance breaches and reputational damage.
The term “DevSecOps” has been coined to characterize how security needs to be at the heart of the DevOps process. This is in part principle and part tools. As a principle, DevSecOps fits with the concept of “shifting left,” that is, ensuring that security is treated as early as possible in the development process. So far, so simple.
From a tooling perspective, however, things get more complicated, not least because the market has seen a number of platforms marketing themselves as DevSecOps. As we have been writing our Key Criteria report on the subject, we have learned that not all DevSecOps vendors are necessarily DevSecOps vendors. Specifically, we have learned to distinguish capabilities that directly enable the goals of DevSecOps from a process perspective, from those designed to support DevSecOps practices. We could define them as: “Those that do, and those that help.”
This is how to tell the two types of vendor apart and how to use them.
Vendors Enabling DevSecOps: “Tools That Do”
A number of tools work to facilitate the DevSecOps process -– let’s bite the bullet and call them DevSecOps tools. They help teams set out each stage of software development, bringing siloed teams together behind a unified vision that allows fast, high-quality development, with security considerations at its core. DevSecOps tools work across the development process, for example:
- Create: Help to set and implement policy
- Develop: Apply guidance to the process and aid its implementation
- Test: Facilitate and guide security testing procedures
- Deploy: Provide reports to assure confidence to deploy the application
The key element that sets these tool sets apart is the ability to automate and reduce friction within the development process. They will prompt action, stop a team from moving from one stage to another if the process has not adequately addressed security concerns, and guide the roadmap for the development from start to finish.
Supporting DevSecOps: “Tools That Help”
In this category we place those tools which aid the execution, and monitoring, of good DevSecOps principles. Security scanning and application/infrastructure hardening tools are a key element of these processes: Software composition analysis (SCA) forms a part of the development stage, static/dynamic application security testing (SAST/DAST) is integral to the test stage and runtime app protection (RASP) is a key to the Deploy stage.
Tools like this are a vital part of the security layer of security tooling, especially just before deployment – and they often come with APIs so they can be plugged into the CI/CD process. However, while these capabilities are very important to DevSecOps, they can be seen in more of a supporting role, rather than being DevSecOps tools per se.
DevSecOps-washing is not a good idea for the enterprise
While one might argue that security should never have been shifted right, DevSecOps exists to ensure that security best practices take place across the development lifecycle. A corollary exists to the idea of “tools that help,” namely that organizations implementing these tools are not “doing DevSecOps,” any more than vendors providing these tools are DevSecOps vendors.
The only way to “do” DevSecOps is to fully embrace security at a process management and governance level: This means assessing risk, defining policy, setting review gates, and disallowing progress for insecure deliverables. Organizations that embrace DevSecOps can get help from what we are calling DevSecOps tools, as well as from scanning and hardening tools that help support its goals.
At the end of the day, all security and governance boils down to risk: If you buy a scanning tool so you can check a box that says “DevSecOps,” you are potentially adding to your risk posture, rather than mitigating it. So, get your DevSecOps strategy fixed first, then consider how you can add automation, visibility, and control using “tools that do,” as well as benefit from “tools that help.”
High Performance Application Security Testing
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While performance is important, it is only one criterion for a Web Application Firewall selection. The results of the report are revealing about these platforms. The methodology will be shown with clarity and transparency on how you might replicate these tests to mimic your own workloads and requirements.
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