How to Report Smishing to Your Cell Phone Service Provider

Smishing is a type of phishing scam that targets your cell phone through text messages. The goal of smishing is to trick you into clicking on a malicious link, downloading a harmful attachment, or revealing your personal or financial information.

Smishing can be very dangerous and costly, as it can expose you to identity theft, fraud, malware, or unwanted charges on your phone bill. It is important to know how to report smishing to your cell phone service provider if you receive a suspicious text message.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for reporting smishing to your cell phone service provider:

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Understanding Internet Threat Maps

You usually see threat attack maps as background images on wall mounted televisions behind a talking head giving an interview to explain the internet is a dangerous place. Some people don’t take these types of displays seriously, usually because people don’t understand their limitations or because people put too much stock in what the simple display is attempting to visualize.

While threat maps can be entertaining, as with all information generated for non-technical people, the data is often too complex to be complete on one display.  While a threat map is mostly eye candy with limited context and almost no usable intelligence, there are some very creative ways they can be used to great effect.

One interesting way to use an animated threat map is in your SOC (Security Operations Center) to provide some context to the the global image of constant attacks and how the SOC is tasked with preventing a successful attack in your business. Many non-technical people don’t understand the volume and intensity of attacks, and this will help them understand the size of the cyber-security problem facing your business today.

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Spam and Outlook

Many people don’t understand how a spam filter works, especially with the email software from Microsoft called Outlook. In my experience, people are confused about how emails are blocked, or how emails are filtered into the Junk Email folder inside Outlook.

Generally speaking, your email server is usually used to block common unwanted emails, known as spam. This means the email server has the ability built into the server software to detect and filter (block) emails from being delivered to your email interface, or there is some additional software installed and configured to perform that filtering process. This means less unwanted email is delivered to your inbox.

There is an additional feature built into Outlook that looks at the emails delivered to your Outlook client to determine if it should block the email and redirect it into your “Junk E-mail” folder.

Any email forwarded from your email server (usually Exchange, but could be Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) but identified as spam by our Outlook client will be automatically moved to your “Junk E-mail” folder. Depending on your spam filter settings inside the Outlook Options, you may find you missing emails in this folder. You may disable the filter, but that doesn’t mean all your emails will now be delivered to your Outlook inbox.

As we discussed already, the spam filter on the email server could have blocked the email, Outlook may move the email to Junk E-mail, or even your anti-virus software might have blocked the email. If you work with your team in you IT department, they have tools available that can tell them if the server ever received the email, if it was forwarded to our computer, if it was intercepted by your anti-virus software, etc. They will need to know the address of the person sending you the email, when it was sent, and the subject line (when known).

How can I disable the Outlook spam filter?

How can I mark emails detected as spam by Outlook as “not spam”?

Catch a Hacker in the Act

In this great article on Motherboard, Thomas Brewster tells the story of how security experts are trying to catch hackers in the act of attacking their systems.

But in the name of security research, some are turning the tables on the daily deluge of maliciousness. They set up what are known in the industry as “honeypots,” fake but genuine-looking internet servers that are used by security teams to attract attackers in order to understand their latest techniques and the hottest malicious software doing the rounds.

Earlier this year, in the black heart of the City of London, Europe’s financial capital, I talked to a group of penetration testers (ethical hackers who poke holes in their customers’ systems to figure out where they are weakest), who agreed to create some new honeypots and demonstrate their use for me. I wanted to understand more about how honeypots were built, and whether we could glean any patterns if we added fresh traps in new locations.

Honeypots are normally created on virtual private servers—rentable places to host things on the internet. Once you’ve bought your plot of land for a couple of quid, you download honeypot software; in our case, we used programs known as Dionaea andKippo. This process is essentially like installing a new operating system onto a dumb machine, and creates what appears to hackers to be a genuinely vulnerable server. In reality, none of the features of the systems work, but they look real enough. 

I recommend you read this article if you have any interest in internet security.

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