Iran Uses Spear-Phishing Attack on US Companies

Today in Security: Iran Uses Spearphishing Attack on U.S. Companies

​​​As tension between the two countries rise, Iran has stepped up its efforts to compromise U.S. government and corporate IT systems. The Associated Press (AP) reports that in the last few weeks there has been an increase in spearphishing emails directed at, among others, oil and gas companies and financial companies.

A spearphishing attack is when hackers send emails to an organization's staff that try to mimic legitimate emails, and trick users into revealing sensitive information—usually a username and password. Two examples in the recent attack shared with the AP include a recruitment letter for an economic advisor position and an alert about updating a Microsoft Outlook global address book.

There have been no confirmed reports that Iran has been successful in recent attacks, but Iranian hacking attempts have been ongoing for a long time. It’s the frequency and breadth of the attacks that have intensified recently. In 2016, Iranian hackers were successful in disruptive attacks against U.S. financial institutions and other infrastructure sites. And the Department of Homeland Security released an alert this weekend warning of Iran’s efforts.

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Want to learn more about cybersecurity and spearphishing? Check out these past ​Security Management articles:

Avoiding the Spearphisher's Barb 

Top Five Challenges for Managing Cybersecurity Risk

Today in Security: Why Physical and Cyber Security Teams Must Work in Concert​