White Hat Spear Phishing
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
A new do-it-yourself phishing tool lets enterprises automatically spear-phish their own users. The new PhishMe software-as-a-service offering is designed to help companies assess their vulnerability to spear phishing, as well as to give their users a real-world taste of these targeted attacks. Boutique security firm Intrepidus Group, which is made up of some black hat researchers, today rolled out the new Web-based PhishMe service for helping companies find the weakest links in their targeted phishing defense. Spear phishing attacks target specific organizations or individuals, rather than blanketing large groups of users…..The concept of unleashing a fake phishing campaign inside your own organization isn’t new — some companies routinely hire penetration testers or social engineering experts to do the dirty work for them…..PhishMe is also a gentler way of catching employees falling for a phish. Rather than making them feel punk’d, like some social engineering exploits do, it gives them instant feedback: They are redirected to educational messages and information, including a PhishMe educational comic strip and links to their corporate sites for more information…..Security experts say the hands-on attack approach is more powerful than a security policy statement or traditional user training…..Setting up an attack takes just a few minutes, and PhishMe provides user behavior metrics as well as other trend information. For security reasons, Intrepidus doesn’t collect its clients’ user passwords on its servers. “The only thing we have is the email addresses of our clients,” says Aaron Higgby, CTO of Intrepidus. PhishMe can be configured for any type of phishing exploit, even the more obviously phony ones that aren’t targeted at any particular organization or person. But spear phishing campaigns are usually the most difficult phishing attacks to detect, experts say. “They are hard to pick up because they are so close to legitimate emails out there,” Belani says. “You need to train people to focus on the targeted phishing attacks.” The next version of the service will have options for including benign infected-email attachments, Belani says.