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Cyber Security

How to Recognise and Report Phishing

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Written by Gaurav Mohan, VP, SAARC & Middle East, NETSCOUT

Gaurav Mohan, VP, SAARC & Middle East, NETSCOUT

Phishing continues to be a recurring threat to organizations, and most cybersecurity teams must implement regular corporate security training programs on phishing to keep employees alert and ready to combat these threats. The reality is, phishing works, and until it doesn’t, this cycle is bound to continue. Just this year, the UAE’s TDRA issued an alert to the public over phishing links that were posing as major courier companies scamming people for financial gain or to steal their identities.

The news often covers when a company is hacked. There may be 42-second-long segments in the news about how many computers were encrypted and how much ransom was demanded, among other details. What is frequently overlooked is the follow-up, published six months or even a year after the hack is announced, and is typically relegated to IT security blogs because it simply is not exciting enough to make the big headlines. These will have a root-cause analysis, and the majority of the time, that root cause begins with a phish.

How to Identify Phishing
The primary goal of phishing scammers is to trick victims into disclosing personal information, which is frequently accomplished through phishing emails or text messages. Typically, these scammers will attempt to get hold of an individual’s passwords, national identity numbers, and account information. To maintain effectiveness, they frequently change the tactics they use to obtain this information and gain access to a person’s accounts.

With thousands of phishing attacks launched daily, it is difficult to keep up with the rapidly changing attack methodology, which makes it difficult to identify a phishing email or text message. The attacker may, very convincingly, disguise the email or text as originating from a trusted source such as a governmental institution, bank, or popular brand. Attackers often try to scare their prospects into taking immediate action by saying something is wrong with their accounts.

Common methods of infiltration include trying to access an account from a strange IP address, mentioning coupons or offers, saying they need to confirm personal information, claiming there’s an issue with payment methods, sending a false invoice, and asking for confirmation or payment via an included link.

Before taking action when an email asks for personal information or offers an invite to open an attachment, there are a few cues that individuals can look out for. First, ensure the “From” address makes sense and matches the organization sending the email. If the ‘From’ address seems different or new, it is best not to open attachments or follow any links.

Furthermore, individuals should be on the lookout for email addresses in the public domain (such as Gmail) when an organization sends them an email, as this is a significant red flag. Individuals can also keep an eye out for misspellings in domain names. Phishers often change just a couple of characters in a domain when sending an email to trick victims into thinking it’s legitimate when it is actually a scam.

The email may also be poorly written. Frequently, scammers are poor writers or send their emails to thousands of recipients in a hurry; therefore, read the email carefully and completely to comprehend what is being stated and how it is portrayed. Finally, be wary of emails with a strong sense of urgency. If the email demands that the recipient take immediate action to resolve a problem or face dire consequences, it is likely a scam. Scammers are aware that people have a tendency to procrastinate, so this tactic enables them to obtain results rapidly.

How to Report Phishing
Report any phishing email or text message received, following internal phishing reporting protocols. Once phishing has been recognized, it is crucial for the recipient to avoid responding or engaging with the message, and they should definitely not click any links, open any attachments, or take any action demanded by the attacker.

Once the phishing incident is reported, following the correct protocols, to the organization’s security team, the work is not quite done yet. Recipients should also report the phishing scam to their respective governmental authorities. In the UAE, scams can be reported through the nearest police station, the eCrime website, Abu Dhabi’s Aman service, the Dubai Police website, or the ‘My Safe Society’ app launched by the YAE’s federal public prosecution.

This helps contribute to the fight against fraud on a national scale.  Finally, alert the organization or individual impersonated as part of the scheme. Reporting phishing emails is a multistep process that allows helping others to stay safe online. People are the last line of defense against phishing attacks, so before acting on a potential phishing scam, it is essential to remember to slow down, look carefully and thoroughly, and think clearly.

Cyber Security

Netskope Joins Google Workspace Security Alliance

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Netskope has joined the Google Workspace Security Alliance to extend security and data protection for Workspace users. The Netskope One Platform provides a number of advanced security capabilities that protect data, defend against threats, and ensure users have fast and secure access to Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools, including Gemini for Workspace.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud technologies to drive innovation and efficiency, they are also challenged to secure sensitive data from a range of cyber risks, including:

  • Ongoing increases in the number of users uploading sensitive data to personal instances of cloud applications
  • New and evolving threat techniques such as abuse of certain applications for critical data access, back doors, and financial gain; compromise of credentials to access critical business data; insider threats; and more
  • Data exposure from the insecure use of both managed and unmanaged AI-based productivity tools

Netskope and Google Workspace empower organizations to embrace modern collaboration and productivity by enabling the secure use of AI-based productivity tools. Netskope provides advanced data loss prevention (DLP) techniques, delivering real-time visibility and control over users, data, and corporate vs. personal cloud instances. In addition, Netskope’s comprehensive threat protection through both API and inline controls detects threats in Google applications and monitors data movement and threat propagation between Google Workspace apps and third-party ecosystem applications.

“Netskope is proud to expand its partnership with Google Workspace by joining the Workspace Security Alliance. There are already thousands of customers using Netskope to safeguard their Google Workspace applications, and this new partnership further enhances the secure usage capabilities for application specific data protection policies,” said Andy Horwitz, VP, Global Partner Ecosystems, Netskope. “Together, Netskope and Google Workspace can help customers modernize their productivity stack. We look forward to helping customers safely optimize their employees’ daily productivity.”

The Netskope and Google Workspace partnership enables organizations to embrace collaboration and productivity while safeguarding critical data. Joint customers can now more effectively:

  1. Support best practice use of Gemini for Google Workspace: Leverage real-time user coaching to help enforce best practices in application usage. Organizations can gain visibility into data movement to minimize sensitive information sharing while achieving data compliance objectives.
  2. Protect sensitive data: Detect and manage access to sensitive data within Google Workspace applications, enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized data movement across platforms, including third-party services like Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
  3. Stop insider threats like data exfiltration: Prevent the download of sensitive data from Google Workspace business instances and then the upload to personal instances, which is one of today’s top reasons for data loss. Additionally, apply this control to unmanaged devices: allow unmanaged or personal device access to a specific cloud app for collaboration, however, do not allow downloading of sensitive data.
  4. Detect and stop elusive threats and malware: Protect against malware and phishing delivered from the cloud. Netskope’s multi-layered advanced threat protection (ATP) enhances security within Google Workspace and across cloud applications.
  5. Maintain compliance in Google Workspace: Ensure that organizations can adhere to regulations and meet compliance needs by enforcing security policies within Google Workspace.

“By partnering with Netskope, a leading SASE vendor, customers can confidently expand their Google Workspace adoption leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments,” said Nikhil Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Workspace. “Netskope instance awareness enables fine grained data governance policy differences to both corporate and personal Google Workspace accounts. We are excited to partner with Netskope to provide these advanced security capabilities to our customers.”

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Channel Talk

AmiViz and BitSight Join Forces to Elevate Middle East Risk Management

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AmiViz has partnered with Bitsight, a leading provider of cyber risk management solutions. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in bolstering cybersecurity capabilities across the region and facilitating Bitsight’s expansion efforts in the Middle East.

The partnership between AmiViz and Bitsight will enhance the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East by introducing state-of-the-art solutions designed to tackle the evolving cyber threats confronting regional organizations. With both companies committed to improving cybersecurity awareness and resilience, they are set to pave the way for a safer and more secure digital environment in the region.

Commenting on the partnership with Bitsight, Ilyas Mohammed, COO at AmiViz said, “Our decision to onboard Bitsight demonstrates our commitment towards the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East. As organizations grapple with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the partnership between these two industry leaders promises to deliver enhanced value by equipping organizations with the tools and insights needed to effectively manage cyber risks and safeguard their digital assets in an ever-evolving threat landscape.”

Bitsight’s solutions can proactively assess and manage their cyber risk exposure and provide organizations with actionable intelligence to optimize their security investments, streamline vendor risk management processes, and enhance cyber resilience. With a focus on continuous monitoring and data-driven insights, Bitsight empowers organizations to make informed decisions and stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

The Middle East has often been an attractive target for cyber-attacks, and this partnership will empower companies to address vulnerabilities and protect their digital assets proactively. By combining AmiViz’s deep understanding of the regional market dynamics with Bitsight’s cutting-edge technology and global expertise, the partnership will offer next-generation cybersecurity solutions tailored to the unique challenges and requirements of Middle Eastern organizations.

“We are proud to partner with AmiViz to transform the cyber risk management landscape in the Middle East,” said Xavier Artiguebieille, Senior Vice President, EMEA Sales at Bitsight. “Our combined efforts will equip organizations with the critical tools and intelligence needed to navigate and mitigate the complexities of modern cyber threats, enhancing their overall security and resilience.”

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Artificial Intelligence

ESET’s New AI Assistant Streamlines Threat Detection and Response

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ESET has introduced ESET AI Advisor, an innovative generative AI-based cybersecurity assistant that transforms incident response and interactive risk analysis. First showcased at RSA Conference 2024, the new solution is now available as part of the ESET PROTECT MDR Ultimate subscription tier and ESET Threat Intelligence.

Unlike other vendor offerings and typical generative AI assistants that focus on soft features like administration or device management, ESET AI Advisor seamlessly integrates into the day-to-day operations of security analysts, conducting in-depth analysis. Building on over two decades of ESET’s expertise in AI-driven endpoint protection, the offering provides detailed incident data and SOC team-level advisory. This is a game-changer for companies with limited IT resources who want to utilize the advantages of advanced Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions and threat intelligence feeds.

“As cybersecurity threats become increasingly sophisticated, ESET remains committed to providing cutting-edge solutions that address these challenges. The ESET AI Advisor module represents a significant leap forward in our mission to close the cybersecurity skills gap and empower organizations to safeguard their digital assets effectively,” said Juraj Malcho, Chief Technology Officer at ESET.

One of the primary benefits of this new solution is closing the cybersecurity skills gap. Security analysts of all skill levels can use ESET AI Advisor to conduct interactive risk identification, analysis, and response capabilities, which are provided in an easily understandable format. The user-friendly interface makes sophisticated threat data actionable even for less experienced IT and security professionals.

The ESET AI Advisor also excels in facilitating faster decision-making for critical incidents. Security analysts can simply consult the ESET AI Advisor to understand the specific threats their environment faces. Leveraging extensive XDR collected data, the ESET AI Advisor identifies and analyzes potential malware threats, providing intuitive insights into their behaviour and impact. It assists in recognizing phishing attempts and advising users on how to avoid falling victim to fraudulent emails or websites. By monitoring network traffic, the ESET AI Advisor can flag unusual or suspicious behaviour, helping security teams take appropriate action. Its ability to automate repetitive tasks is an additional advantage. Managing routine processes such as data collection, extraction, and basic threat detection, allows security teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.

In ESET Threat Intelligence, the new module will help researchers analyze vast quantities of unique APT reports and understand latest developments in world of cyber threats. With its conversational prompts and interactive dialogue, ESET AI Advisor empowers organizations to analyze and mitigate threats effortlessly and fortify their cybersecurity posture.

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