Whaling attack examples Now that you know the basics, let’s put a whaling attack into context with some examples. 6. In 2016, a Snapchat employee fell for a whaling attack and revealed colleagues’ payroll information. the average cost of a breach is $3.86 million. Simply put, security products have not moved as quickly as cyberattackers in predicting and preventing new and emerging threats. Victims of whaling attack not named, but it’s not the first time a big multinational has been targeted, and it won’t be the last Also, the attacks are direct and do not include any guidelines from your superiors. A whaling attack is a method used by cybercriminals to masquerade as a senior player at an organization and directly target senior or other important individuals at an organization, with the aim of stealing money or sensitive information or gaining access to their computer systems for criminal purposes. Whaling threats or CEO fraud continues to grow with 67 percent of firms seeing an increase in these email-based attacks designed to extort money. An employee at a mid-sized business in Ohio received an email from her boss, the CFO, who was out of town. Whaling attacks can be quite difficult to spot because of how personalised they are, but usually follow a general trend. Read our guide on social engineering for more information. Learn about the latest issues in cybersecurity and how they affect you. I couldn’t agree more with this and that is how we try to attract people here. Example 1 - Snapchat fell victim to a whaling attack. Read this post to learn how to defend yourself against this powerful threat. Â, In 2016, Snapchat fell victim to a whaling attack when a high-ranking employee fell for a CEO fraud email and revealed employee payroll information. What are the greatest information security threats to the banking industry? We increasingly see hackers impersonating brands in sophisticated spoofed emails; it’s surprisingly easy to do if the company doesn’t have email authentication records like DMARC in place. Secure Email Gateways do a great job of preventing run-of-the-mill spam and “bulk” phishing attacks, but they do this with static lists of rules that can only stop attacks the software has already seen. The greatest challenge is hiring and attracting the best employees. Many whaling attacks target CEOs, CFOs and other executives who have a high level of access to sensitive company information. Whaling is related to CEO fraud, with a key difference: instead of impersonating senior executives and targeting lower-ranking employees, attackers target the big fish themselves (hence the term). Whaling attacks, like spear phishing attacks, are more difficult to detect than typical phishing attacks as they are highly personalized and only sent to select targets in an organization.Â, While unsophisticated whale phishing relies solely on social engineering to trick targets, the majority of cybercriminals using whaling attacks tend to invest heavily in the attack to make it seem as legitimate as possible, due to potentially high returns.Â. The December 2015 Ukrainian power grid attack was a history-making event for a number of reasons. You can read more about what our customers are saying on Gartner reviews. When attackers go after a “big fish” like a CEO, it’s called whaling. Financial losses Worryingly, a third of retailers we surveyed do not have these checks in place. We can help you continuously monitor your vendors' external security controls and provide an unbiased security rating.Â. What is Business Email Compromise? Whaling. Spear phishing is more selective, targeting specific organizations or employees and requiring more time and effort on the part of the attacker.Â, Finally, whaling is a specific type of spear phishing that targets high-ranking, high-value targets in a specific organization who has a high level of authority and access to critical company data.Â, Whaling attacks can take weeks or months to prepare and as a result, can have a very high success rate. Be wary of spoofed suppliers Not all whaling attacks end on a happy note like this story did. This kind of attack specifically targets senior management that hold power in companies. CxOs are incredibly busy and under a tremendous amount of pressure. Phishing comes in many forms, from spear phishing, whaling and business-email compromise to clone phishing, vishing and snowshoeing. Examples of a whaling attack. It’s harder to quantify on a balance sheet, but after a BEC-triggered data breach, hard-won brand reputations could be put at serious risk. Meet with your peers and industry experts, go to workshops and networking events. Data breach / credential harvesting Your Ultimate Guide to Human Layer Security →. (It’s worth pointing out that the big tech companies, such as Microsoft and Netflix, are invariably among the most impersonated brands in the world, despite both companies employing DMARC to defend against spoofing.) Make sure all staff are trained on the phishing threat and know what action to take should they receive one. 100 Million Google and Facebook Spear Phishing Scam. To identify and prevent inbound email threats, like whaling, SEGs commonly rely on the following—. Nowadays it’s hard to think of data breaches and email attacks without the associated fines brought about by new regulation. Whaling examples. How to Protect Yourself From Whaling Secure Company Policies. 5. Of course, a principal aim of BEC attacks is to extract money from targeted organizations. Encourage your employees to print it and keep it on their desk so that they can identify the cues of a malicious message. A portion of phishing attacks are known as spear phishing, which is an attack focused on a specific individual, while a whaling attack is spear phishing that focuses on a high-level manager or executive. Obviously, no company would enjoy the same level of trust from customers and partners if an employee fell for impersonation fraud, especially if the result was a data breach. With more emails being sent and received and with staff working at a fast pace for long hours, mistakes will inevitably happen. Oftentimes, criminals will gather and use personal information about their target to personalize the email better and increase their probability of success. Since individuals in the C-suite are significant to the company leadership, they are called “whales”. No: it refers to the total amount of money stolen from businesses thanks to Business Email Compromise scams, according to the FBI. If just one employee falls for a scam, the retailer could face a security breach exposing the personal and financial data of thousands of consumers. CEO fraud is a type of spear phishing attack where attackers impersonate a CEO, CFO or another high-level executive. Many whaling attacks target CEOs, CFOs and other executives who have a high level of access to sensitive company information. This example shows an attacker impersonating a CEO, Thomas Edison, asking an employee to change invoicing details. The term whaling refers to spear phishing attacks directed specifically at senior executives and other high-profile targets. And what can be done to stop them? Peak shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are a golden opportunity for hackers to hide in chaotic inboxes and take advantage of individuals who are not security savvy. One form is whaling, and it’s on the rise. In general, phishing efforts are focused on collecting personal data about users. What is Spear Phishing? Defending Against Targeted Email Attacks, Austrian aircraft parts manufacturer FACC AG. For the assessment of your information security controls, UpGuard BreachSight can monitor your organization for 70+ security controls providing a simple, easy-to-understand cyber security rating and automatically detect leaked credentials and data exposures in S3 buckets, Rsync servers, GitHub repos and more. As with other BEC scams, the usual aim is to extract money from the targeted business by coercing an employee into making illicit wire transfers. An attacker “compromises” an email account by convincingly impersonating a trusted counterparty of the target. Think before you click on email Read our guide on social engineering for more information, Snapchat fell victim to a whaling attack when a high-ranking employee fell for a CEO fraud email, whaling attack involved a Seagate executive. Some of the most impersonated parties around the world are not necessarily businesses at all but institutions. The FBI stated that businesses worldwide have lost more than $1.2 billion to whaling attacks. Perhaps the most notable whaling phishing attack occurred in 2016 when a high-ranking Snapchat employee received an email from a fraudster impersonating the company’s CEO. That said, they have subtle differences security teams should be aware of.Â. Whaling is one type of phishing attack where a scammer poses as a trusted party so that a user opens a malicious website or attachment. Whaling attacks are an impersonation tactic used by scammers in order to trick employees into handing over money or data. Temporary seasonal workers play a critical role in helping retailers out during this busy time but they rarely benefit from the cybersecurity training that full-time employees receive. automatically detect data leaks and leaked credentials so you can prevent data from falling into the wrong hands, Read our guide on data leaks for more information, This is why vendor risk management is so important,  instantly identify key risks across your vendor portfolio, Read our guide on how to manage third-party risk for more information, Susceptibility to man-in-the-middle attacks, click here to request your free Cyber Security Rating, Book a demo of the UpGuard platform today, Unnecessary open administration, database, app, email and file sharing ports. Expand your network with UpGuard Summit, webinars & exclusive events. Whaling attacks can be easy to pull off. These attackers often … Armed with access, the attackers launched further attacks…against those companies.…The message sent seemed legitimate enough…to cause people to take action.…Snapchat was the victim of a whaling attack.…In early 2016, the social media app Snapchat fell victim…to a whaling attack when a high-ranking employee was emailed…by a cybercriminal impersonating the CEO…was fooled into revealing … A whaling attack is a method used by cybercriminals to masquerade as a senior player at an organization and directly target senior or other important individuals at an organization, with the aim of stealing money or sensitive information or gaining access to … Protect your customers by protecting your brand. It’s not even the proportion of businesses now targeted by cyberattacks. In 2016, the payroll department at Snapchat received a whaling email that purported to come from the CEO asking for employee payroll information. Not only that, but Varonis said that whaling went up 200% in 2017 alone, showing that hackers are warming to the idea of going big phishing. Definition of phishing types; spear phishing, whaling, pharming. Hackers will target these teams with phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or links, knowing that staff will need to deal with every customer enquiry they receive. Is your business defending against this risk? The urgent wire transfer. How to Overcome the Multi-Billion Dollar Threat. Phishing is the biggest risk for one in five IT decision makers at UK and US retailers during the holiday shopping season. This is a complete guide to security ratings and common usecases. Snapchat reported the incident to the FBI and offered their employees two years of free identity theft insurance.Â, Another well-known whaling attack involved a Seagate executive who accidentally exposed the W-2 forms for all current and former employees. 3. Put measures in place to protect your people, especially when security is the last thing on their mind. Tessian Defender detects all possible impersonation types, including the manipulation of internal and external contacts. (Attackers might choose to impersonate a display name or a domain in order to fool their target. Some examples are: stealing company secrets, money, and equipment. What are the specific tactics you use to engage the board? The board is made up of mainly commercial, financial and legal executives so I find that the best way to express my ideas is through analogies. The attacker pretended to be the CEO of the company and asked the employees to send the data of payrolls. What is whaling – attack examples The Snapchat case 95% of all attacks on enterprise networks are the result of successful spear phishing. However, both attacks rely on cloning to convince victims of legitimacy. They often just need to invest time into researching a target, which is easy with the proliferation of public profiles on platforms like LinkedIn. Scammers attacked about 20,000 corporate CEOs, and approximately 2000 of them fell for the whaling scam by clicking the link in the email. A similar whaling attack hit Ubiquiti in August 2015, but the attackers got away with $46 million. Conveniently for attackers, account takeover is often achieved after a successful spear phishing attack. 7. Tessian Defender stops advanced threats that legacy systems miss. Vishing. Get the latest curated cybersecurity news, breaches, events and updates in your inbox every week. 5. What’s more, CxO’s might be less likely to attend security awareness training due to their busy schedules. Examples of whaling attack. Whaling is a kind of spear phishing attack that specifically targets senior executives (the “big fish”) in an organization. In fact, 67% of IT decision makers at UK and US retailers believe staff are more likely to click on a phishing email during the holiday shopping season. In response to the email, the payroll staff disclosed all of the company’s payroll data to a scammer. What increased by 108% one day in September 2019? Control third-party vendor risk and improve your cyber security posture. Scammers are honing in on the shipping industry, using “whaling,” a.k.a. More and more companies are investing in training, but busy executives could prioritize educating the staff over themselves, which keeps the business at risk. But if anything, comparing the periods of time used to arrive at the totals generates even more alarm. Another second-order effect could be knocking employees’ morale and denting confidence, making rebuilding work still more difficult. After all, one employee misstep can have serious consequences for an organization. At their core, the common thread in examples of past successful whaling campaigns aren't too dissimilar from successful phishing campaigns: The messages are seemingly so urgent, so potentially disastrous that the recipient feels compelled to act quickly, putting normal security hygiene practices by the wayside. We base our ratings on the analysis of 70+ vectors including: We can also help you instantly benchmark your current and potential vendors against their industry, so you can see how they stack up. Example 1 - Snapchat fell victim to a whaling attack. Most organizations do not think about how happy their employees are. Tessian Spotlight: Pierre-Yves Geffe, Chief Information Officer for Swedbank Luxembourg. Since individuals in the C-suite are significant to the company leadership, they are called “whales”. The employee was duped into giving the … Examples of whaling attacks 1. So how are attackers able to extract such large sums of money from enterprises? While spear phishing yields small gains, whaling phishing attacks target big institutions for massive loots. Later on, the FBI investigated the matter. 3. It’s a golden opportunity for cybercriminals looking to steal personal data and credit card information to pose as legitimate retail brands and lure consumers to fake sites. UpGuard Vendor Risk can minimize the amount of time your organization spends assessing related and third-party information security controls by automating vendor questionnaires and providing vendor questionnaire templates. Once this is done, before executing the attack itself, the attackers must first impersonate an employee or one of the company’s external counterparties. What is a phishing attack? While you can't prevent yourself or your company's executives from being targeted in whaling attacks, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood these attacks will be successful.Â. Recent Examples of Whaling Attacks Back in May 2016, Infosecurity Magazine covered Austrian aerospace manufacturer FACC’s decision to fire its CEO. Amplify Your Email Security with Granular Threat Visibility & Analytics. BEC is a catch-all term often conflated with other kinds of email attacks, like phishing, spear phishing and account takeover. Examples of whaling attack. (Download Tessian’s guide to email impersonation to see this effect in action.) Fines The problem is that consumers are more likely to click on malicious links or download harmful attachments when an email looks like it comes from a legitimate brand and email address. Instant insights you can act on immediately, 13 risk factors, including email security, SSL, DNS health, open ports and common vulnerabilities. So, phishing attacks on these folks get called “whale phishing” As a security professional, you have the mandate of […] Austrian plane company FACC lost 56 million dollars to whalers in January, 2016. UpGuard is a complete third-party risk and attack surface management platform. Insights on cybersecurity and vendor risk. As we’ve seen, the main motivation behind BEC attacks is commonly financial. Don’t rely on tick-box training To understand more about the different types of email spoofing and impersonation exploited by cybercriminals, head to the this Tessian blog.) Whaling inevitably reaps far greater rewards for successful attackers and has been instrumental in numerous large-scale incidents: 1. The employee was duped into giving the attacker confidential employee payroll information. Consumers will be inundated with emails touting Black Friday deals this weekend. The motivation behind whaling attacks is commonly financial. Like other phishing attacks, the goal of whaling phishing is to impersonate a trusted person or brand and, by using social engineering tactics, trick the recipient into relaying sensitive information or transferring funds to the attacker. 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