San Jose, California, July 26, 2016
Zscaler, the leading cloud security provider, today issued a strong warning for organizations to refocus their security efforts ahead of this year’s biggest summer sporting event. Most critically, organizations need to keep their exposure to phishing and malware attempts in mind. Exploitation of mobile applications and their possible impact on business continuity is also important to consider.
The warning comes in light of the real threat cybercriminals pose, as users find convenient ways to keep up with latest sporting news. At the last games, ThreatLabZ research found that 80 percent of “Olympic” web domains were scams or spam, pinpointing the need for increased business vigilance.
“Streamlined security that doesn’t hinder productivity should be business leaders’ singular focus for the Games,” said Michael Sutton, CISO at Zscaler. “Every Games, cybercriminals use spam and spoofed websites to trick users into clicking and downloading malicious files. This will be no different.”
To fight this threat, businesses should ensure enterprise readiness across three key areas—business productivity, cyber threat response and approved applications—when preparing for the Games this summer.
Cybersecurity and the prioritization of web traffic are paramount in the cloud age. Consider how online streaming can divert employee attention or the saturation of network bandwidth that can interfere with critical business applications like Salesforce, Office365 or Workday.
“Employees will find a workaround if you completely block all live coverage, even if it means staying home,” comments Sutton. “The result is an increase in absences and employees that are vulnerable to social engineering, as they seek out websites or streams related to the Games. As such, organizations adopt a proactive security stance to appropriately provision bandwidth and monitor traffic.”
Phishing and Malware
Phishing is a primary way of harvesting usernames and passwords, personally identifiable information and/or payment card information for financial gain.
At the Vancouver Games, Zscaler observed cybercriminals masquerading as legitimate websites and applications that uploaded malware and stole sensitive information. We can expect the same at Rio, as criminals use the major international event to exploit consumer fervor. “Falling for scams, consumers not only fail to gain tickets or other goods, they also expose personal information, placing them at risk of further fraud,” comments Sutton.
Directing user traffic to bogus domains allows cybercriminals to leverage readily available exploit kits to exploit bugs in the background while presenting a seemingly normal façade. The Zscaler ThreatLabZ research team has already found cases of exploit kit traffic coming from “Olympics” related content and predicts more attacks targeting users with emails and attachments around further “Olympics”-related content, discounts and schedules.
“Because cybercriminals will tap into our anticipation of the Games this year, businesses need to ensure they can identify and mitigate attacks from phishing campaign to exploit kits,” said Sutton. “We can no longer rely solely on URL filtering or the reputation of a site,” Sutton continued.
Mobile Apps and App Stores
Just last month, malware disguised itself as an online banking app for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, mirroring a similar login screen to the original app in order to steal user credentials as soon as the victim tried to authenticate. The same can be expected of applications that users may use to keep up-to-date with the sporting events.
The business security implications aren’t small, but they can be simple to mitigate considering the tactics are not new. For mobile malware, organizations should block access to third-party app stores, allowing access only to the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Organizations should also consider sandboxing technologies to inspect unknown Android APK files being downloaded to corporate devices.
Zscaler (NASDAQ: ZS) enables the world’s leading organizations to securely transform their networks and applications for a mobile and cloud-first world. Its flagship services, Zscaler Internet Access™ and Zscaler Private Access™, create fast, secure connections between users and applications, regardless of device, location, or network. Zscaler services are 100 percent cloud-delivered and offer the simplicity, enhanced security, and improved user experience that traditional appliances are unable to match. Used in more than 185 countries, Zscaler operates a multi-tenant distributed cloud security platform, protecting thousands of customers from cyberattacks and data loss. Learn more at zscaler.com or follow us on Twitter @zscaler.
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Vice President, Global Communications