Malicious Cyber Activity Exploiting High Profile News Events
Date: 24 October 2014
The purpose of this Alert is to bring attention to campaigns that distribute malware and other malicious activities exploiting public interest in high profile news events.
CCIRC has observed continued bouts of malicious cyber activity coinciding with significant events, both in Canada and abroad. Malicious actors take advantage of significant news stories, international sporting events, conferences, and holidays to compromise users through phishing campaigns, search engine optimization poisoning, or website spoofing. These techniques are used to spread malware which can be used to steal financial and personal information from users, exfiltrate data or capture victims’ computers in a botnet.
CCIRC recommends that organizations employ the following mitigation measures for cyber activity related to high profile events:
- Most often, attacks are detected by diligent and well-informed users. CCIRC recommends that organizations ensure users receive situational awareness training, including instructions on how to report unusual or suspicious e-mails to their IT security branch. Reviewing departmental policies, requirements and security education and awareness training can help reduce this threat.
- Employ the Top 4 Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions (link provided below). Research indicated following the top four mitigation strategies will reportedly help system administrators mitigate as much as 85% of targeted cyber attacks.
- Be critical of unsolicited e-mails received before, during, and after events, especially those claiming to be associated with any meetings or conferences. Check with the email sender to verify the authenticity of the message and any included attachments.
- Visually inspect any links that are generated from a web search using popular, media-related, or event-related search terms.
- Use only trusted, secure domains for financial transactions.
- Ensure all operating systems and software, including anti-virus software, are up to date with the latest patches.
- Top 4 Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions
- Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre, TR11-001 – Malware Infection Recovery Guide
Note to Readers
In support of Public Safety's mission to build a safe and resilient Canada, CCIRC's mandate is to help ensure the security and resilience of the vital non-federal government cyber systems that underpin Canada's national security, public safety and economic prosperity. As Canada's computer security incident response team, CCIRC is Canada's national coordination centre for the prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from cyber incidents on non-federal government systems. It does this by providing authoritative advice and support, and coordinating information sharing and incident response.
Please note, CCIRC PGP key has recently been updated.
For general information, please contact Public Safety Canada's Public Affairs division at:
Telephone: 613-944-4875 or 1-800-830-3118
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