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GUEST ESSAY: Lessons to be learned from the waves of BofA phone number spoofing scams

By Richard Grant

Phone number spoofing involves manipulating caller ID displays to mimic legitimate phone numbers, giving scammers a deceptive veil of authenticity.

Related: The rise of ‘SMS toll fraud’

The Bank of America scam serves as a prime example of how criminals exploit this technique. These scammers impersonate Bank of America representatives, using the genuine bank’s phone number (+18004321000) to gain trust and deceive their targets.

Victims of the Bank of America scam have shared their experiences, shedding light on the deceptive tactics employed by these fraudsters. One common approach involves a caller with an Indian accent posing as a Bank of America representative. They may claim that a new credit card or checking account has been

Black Hat insights: Generative AI begins seeping into the security platforms that will carry us forward

By Byron V. Acohido

LAS VEGAS – Just when we appeared to be on the verge of materially shrinking the attack surface, along comes an unpredictable, potentially explosive wild card: generative AI.

Related: Can ‘CNAPP’ do it all?

Unsurprisingly, generative AI was in the spotlight at Black Hat USA 2023, which returned to its full pre-Covid grandeur here last week.

Maria Markstedter, founder of Azeria Labs, set the tone in her opening keynote address. Artificial intelligence has been in commercial use for many decades; Markstedter recounted why this potent iteration of AI is causing so much fuss, just now.

Generative AI makes use of a large language model (LLM) – an advanced algorithm that applies deep learning techniques to massive data sets. The popular service, ChatGPT, is based on OpenAI’s LLM, which taps into everything available across the Internet through 2021, plus anything a user cares

STEPS FORWARD: Can ‘CNAPP’ solutions truly unify cloud, on-premises best cybersecurity practices?

By Byron V. Acohido

A fledgling security category referred to as Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP) is starting to reshape the cybersecurity landscape.

Related: Computing workloads return on-prem

CNAPP solutions assemble a varied mix of security tools and best practices and focuses them on intensively monitoring and managing cloud-native software, from development to deployment.

Companies are finding that CNAPP solutions can materially improve the security postures of both cloud-native and on-premises IT resources by unifying security and compliance capabilities. However, to achieve this higher-level payoff, CISOs and CIOs must first bury the hatchet and truly collaborate – a bonus return.

In a ringing endorsement, Microsoft recently unveiled its CNAPP offering, Microsoft Defender for Cloud; this is sure to put CNAPP on a rising adoption curve with many of the software giant’s enterprise customers, globally. Meanwhile, Cisco on May 24 completed its acquisition of Lightspin, boosting its CNAPP capabilities, and Palo Alto Networks has continued to steadily sharpen its CNAPP chops, most recently with the acquisition of Cider Security.

At RSA Conference 2023, I counted at least 35 other vendors aligning their core services to CNAPP, in one way or another;

GUEST ESSAY: 7 tips for protecting investor data when it comes to alternative asset trading

By Brian Nadzan

When it comes to alternative asset trading, protecting investor data is of critical importance.

Related: Preserving the privacy of the elderly

As more traders and investors engage in these investment avenues, it is crucial to adopt robust security measures to safeguard sensitive and regulated information. Here are seven tips to protect investor data in alternative asset trading.

•Conduct regular penetration testing. Regular and thorough penetration testing is crucial for identifying vulnerabilities within trading systems. By engaging third-party experts to simulate real-world hacks, companies can proactively uncover potential weaknesses and address them promptly.

Penetration testing provides valuable insights into a system’s security posture, allowing companies to fortify their defenses and protect investor data from malicious actors.

•Foster collaborative partnerships. Having access to a partner focused in cybersecurity brings fresh perspectives and allows for an unbiased evaluation of the systems in use. These partnerships strengthen a security posture by leveraging the expertise of professionals who specialize in identifying vulnerabilities and allows them to suggest remediation strategies. By working together, a robust cybersecurity framework can be established to protect investor data.

•Employ real-time antivirus scanning. Implement a multi-layered approach to protect against potential threats. By using real-time antivirus scanning to detect and neutralize

FIRESIDE CHAT: Outrageous phone bills stun businesses targeted for ‘SMS toll fraud’

By Byron V. Acohido

SMS toll fraud is spiking. I learned all about the nuances of deploying – and defending – these insidious attacks in a recent visit with Arkose Labs CEO, Kevin Gosschalk, who explained how the perpetrators victimize businesses that use text messages to validate phone users signing up for a new account.

Related: Countering Putin’s weaponizing of ransomware

The fraudsters set themselves up as “affiliates” of phone companies in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam and then use bots to apply for online accounts, en masse, at a targeted business. The con: each text message the business then sends in return —  to validate the applicant — generates a fee for the phone company which it shares with the affiliate.

This fraudulent activity usually remains undetected until the business receives a bill for an unusually high number of

GUEST ESSAY: Taking a fresh approach to privileged access management — to curtail abuse

By Ravi Srivatsav

To be productive in an interconnected work environment, employees need immediate access to numerous platforms, both on- and off-premises.

Related: Why SMBs need to do PAM well

Keeping track of user activity and effecting proper on- and off-boarding are becoming more and more difficult, even as unauthorized access via unused, expired, or otherwise compromised access credentials has become the number one cybersecurity threat vector.

Some nine out of ten cyberattacks are estimated to begin with a threat actor gaining unauthorized access to a computer system via poorly managed access credentials.

The sophistication of cyberattacks is perpetrated through unused, old, expired, and otherwise mismanaged access credentials are increasing by the minute, at the same time as it’s becoming challenging to respond to these attacks in an organized and timely manner.

Context needed

Organizations that are used to workflow-based access systems or ticket-based systems, i.e. traditional Privileged Access Management (PAM,) must now make a big cultural shift. PAM enables granular access and monitors, detects, and alerts instances of unauthorized access through policy guardrails.

However, while PAM and other legacy access management systems do alert to unauthorized access, these warnings lack a clear picture of the user’s intent and the context behind the alert.

My Take: Russian hackers put the squeeze on U.S agencies, global corps in MOVEit-Zellis hack

By Byron V. Acohido

It was bound to happen. Clop, the Russia-based ransomware gang that executed the MOVEit-Zellis supply chain hack, has commenced making extortion demands of some big name U.S. federal agencies, in addition to global corporations.

Related: Supply-chain hack ultimatum

The nefarious Clop gang initially compromised MOVEit, which provided them a beachhead to gain access to Zellis, a UK-based supplier of payroll services. Breaching Zellis then gave them a path to Zellis’ customer base.

According to Lawrence Abrams, Editor in Chief of Bleeping Computer, the Clop ransomware gang began listing victims on its data leak site on June 14th, warning that they will begin leaking stolen data on June 21st if their extortion demands are not met.

Among the victims listed were Shell, UnitedHealthcare Student Resources, the University of Georgia, University System of Georgia, Heidelberger Druck, and Landal Greenparks.

As for federal agencies, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has confirmed breaches due to this vulnerability. “CISA is providing support to several federal agencies that have experienced intrusions affecting their MOVEit applications,” said Eric Goldstein,