Be vigilant: How cloud connectivity amplifies the impact of mobile phone fraud | Techy Kings

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As businesses and users around the world increasingly connect through mobile cloud platforms and services, cybercriminals are developing phishing strategies that specifically exploit these connections. One example was the recent attack on cloud communications company Twilio, which resulted in a series of security breaches.

The attackers first gained access to Twilio’s network through employee credentials that were stolen through impersonated SMS messages. From there, the attackers accessed sensitive data from one of Twilio’s customers, Signal, a popular provider of encrypted messaging apps. The attackers were then able to identify multiple real-life Signal users, providing them with individually targeted phishing attacks.

This shows how easily attackers can quickly move from one target to another in a world connected through cloud and mobile services.

In Asia, Singapore’s Cyber ​​Security Agency (CSA) recently reported a 17 percent increase in unique phishing URLs hosted in Singapore, compared to the 47,000 seen in 2020. Although perhaps not yet that sophisticated, the growing trend of mobile phone fraud is already being felt around the world. Asia Pacific with devastating consequences. Hundreds of OCBC Bank customers were defrauded of up to 6.33 million. USD via SMS scams that somehow appeared in the same SMS thread as legitimate OCBC transaction alerts and One Time Password (OTP) messages.

Therefore, senior IT and security leaders across the Asia Pacific region should closely monitor security breach news to learn how to protect their organizations. As threat actors target employees before attacks, how can companies assess their security posture and protect their networks from mobile fraud?

A robust cloud security strategy to combat new forms of fraud

Fraud has grown dramatically over the years as the introduction and rapid adoption of mobile devices in the workplace has opened up new methods of phishing attacks. Attackers take advantage of the fact that many individuals are less careful when sending spam messages via SMS or instant messaging compared to their work email. In addition, the smaller screen size and simplified user interface of mobile phones makes it easier to hide red flags that would be noticed from a desktop monitor.

For inexperienced threat actors, the malware-as-a-service market also offers phishing kits at relatively low prices. This allows attackers with little or no technical knowledge to launch sophisticated phishing campaigns against specific organizations.

Because mobile phishing attacks can occur through channels beyond the control of the security team, organizations of all types and sizes should implement a robust cloud security strategy that can automatically detect unusual behavior and reduce detection time. It is critical that every organization has advanced security capabilities that can detect malicious activity beyond the traditional network, especially when attackers move across different devices, networks, and applications to launch attacks.

Train employees to be alert and spot red flags

As employees are often the first point of contact for mobile phishing attacks, regular training and reminders about basic cyber hygiene should be provided. Attackers are getting better at creating slick, realistic phishing campaigns that mask red flags on mobile devices. No matter how small they are, red flags can still be spotted by paying attention to important details.

For example, in an attack that triggers a targeted employee’s multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution, the location of the message may be incorrect. If an employee is in Singapore and the notification has been triggered from anywhere else, they should decline the access request and notify their security team immediately. Another sign would be abnormal communication. For example, one in three Signal users specifically targeted by the Twilio breach reported receiving a text message verification code in the middle of the night.

Employees should be reminded to always take a few seconds to review all messages that do not contain malicious intent, such as location mismatches, intentionally misspelled words, or suspicious URLs. Those seconds of critical thinking can save an organization from a data breach. Employees who come across anything suspicious should immediately contact the IT and security teams to verify the veracity of the report. If a legitimate mobile phishing attempt occurs, the rest of the enterprise can be alerted to be aware of similar attacks.

The Twilio-Signal breach is one of many sobering reminders of how vulnerable organizations can be in a cloud-connected world. As companies continue to adopt and offer cloud-based services to enhance their customer experience, and remote work remains part of the new normal across the Asia Pacific region, leaders must take the necessary steps to protect their organizations and employees from increasingly complex and targeted cyber attacks. mobile phishing attacks.


Don Tan is Senior Director APAC at Lookout.

TechNode Global INSIDER publishes articles related to entrepreneurship and innovation. You may submit your own original or published contributions at the editorial discretion.

Cyber ​​security in the age of hybrid work

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