Compliance, Human Layer Security
10 Reasons Why CEOs Should Care About Cybersecurity
By Tim Sadler
Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
Cybersecurity is a team sport. And for strategies to be truly effective, security leaders and business leaders have to work together.  In fewer words: Cybersecurity should be on the CEO’s agenda. So, to help bridge the gap and to really highlight why privacy and data protection matter now, I put together this list of reasons why CEOs should care about cybersecurity. Here are 10 reasons why CEOs should care about cybersecurity.
1. Cybersecurity is a competitive differentiator Today, customers and clients don’t just care about privacy, they expect it. That means that a strong cybersecurity culture can actually enable businesses. At our first Human Layer Security Summit of 2020, Mark Parr, Global Director at HFW, summed it up nicely, saying “You’re only going to win more work if you’re reputable. And you’re only going to be reputable if you demonstrate you have a strong information security framework.” He’s not alone in thinking this. According to Cisco’s global survey of security professionals and business leaders, 41% of survey respondents said “competitive advantage” was a benefit of their privacy investment.  2. The biggest consequence of a data breach is lost customer trust Earlier this year, we asked security leaders what the biggest consequence of a data breach would be. The #1 answer? Not lost data. Not regulatory fines or revenue loss. Lost customer trust. Breaches damage your brand and it can be very hard to win back customers’, clients’, and even the public’s trust. That’s why organizations see (on average) 3.9% customer churn after a data breach.  3. You will inevitably empower your people to do their best work Prioritizing cybersecurity isn’t just good for the business. It’s great for your people.  Here’s why: 90% of breaches are caused by human error. But people aren’t intentionally making these errors, they’re moving fast to get their job done. Security just isn’t top of mind for them.  So, it’s our job to set them up for success and empower them to do their best work securely. How do you do that? By removing the sharp objects.  At Tessian’s second Human Layer Security Summit, Bobby Ford, Vice President and Global CISO at Unilever put this into perspective with an example from his own life.   When you’re a parent helping your son or daughter learn how to walk, what do you do? Child-proof the house and get outta the way! 4. Privacy investment can help reduce delays in sales processes and improve operational efficiency Remember that Cisco global survey I mentioned earlier? “Competitive advantage” wasn’t the only benefit security professionals and business leaders experienced as a result of their investment in privacy and cybersecurity. 41% achieved operational efficiency from having data organized and cataloged and 37% saw a reduction in sales delays due to privacy concerns from customers and prospects. It makes sense. Data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity force businesses to be more transparent. That transparency fosters customer loyalty and increases organizational alignment.  
5. The average data breach costs $3.86 million While most security leaders agree that the biggest consequence of a breach is lost customer trust and damaged reputation, we can’t ignore the financial implications. In IBM’s latest Cost of a Data Breach report, they found the average data breach costs $3.86 million. This figure includes costs associated with: Detection and Escalation Notification  Lost Business Ex-post response. And this doesn’t even account for the potential fines from regulators.  Why does this matter? If we’re talking about the ROI of cybersecurity, the cost of non-compliance is actually 2.71 times higher than the cost of compliance. Translation: Prevention is better than cure.  6. The investigation and remediation of breaches disrupts productivity On average, it takes companies 197 days to identify and 69 days to contain a breach. And this process of investigating and remediating requires time and resources from plenty of departments, teams, and people outside of IT. Legal, compliance, executive, marketing, HR, and people teams will get pulled in. Spokespeople will be appointed. External security/IT support will have to be hired and onboarded. The bottom line: you hired great people to do great things. Post-breach activities pull them away from their day-to-work, disrupt their flow and productivity, and distract them from the business’ larger mission. 7. Data protection laws are only going to get more strict  On the topic of compliance, it’s important to point out that data protection laws are only going to get more strict and enforcement agencies are only going to be given more resources to enforce data requirements. That means organizations around the world and across industries won’t just benefit from strong cybersecurity programs, but they’ll be obligated to have one.  Top tip: Industries like financial services tend to be 5+ years ahead in cybersecurity maturity. If you don’t operate in these industries, it’s worth taking note of what’s top-of-mind for the business and security leaders that do.  8. Security culture is built from the top down Just like company culture, the C-suite sets the tone for security culture and therefore must lead by example.  It’s especially important that the CEO plays an active role in not just creating the overall security strategy, but actually rolling it out. Why? The CEO can connect cybersecurity to business objectives and help employees understand what it’s such a critical component in enabling the company to achieve its mission.
But business leaders will soon have no choice but to actively contribute to their organization’s security culture…. 9. By 2024, CEOs could be held personally liable for data breaches As I’ve said, cybersecurity is mission critical. But, for now, it’s security and IT teams who shoulder the responsibility. In a few years, this could change.  According to Gartner, CEO’s will be held personally liable for data breaches by 2024. 10. You owe it to your customers We mentioned earlier that strong cybersecurity can help businesses win new customers. But it’s not just about winning new customers. It’s also about supporting the ones you have.  This is one of Tessian’s core values: Customer-Centricity. Your customers entrust you with their data, their intellectual property, their secrets. You have to keep it safe. That’s why we believe that – as a cybersecurity vendor – it’s our mission to protect every other business’ mission. If you’re looking for more insights into how security and business leaders can work together, check out our latest eBook: CEO’s Guide to Data Protection and Compliance. 
Human Layer Security
What Does 2021 Hold for Cybersecurity? Here Are Tessian’s Predictions
By Ed Bishop
Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
This time last year, no one predicted the events that have unfolded in 2020. We didn’t anticipate the world plunging into lockdown, economies collapsing, businesses closing their offices, and employees working from home.  It’s been a year of huge change and – I’ll say it – uncertainty.  It might, then, seem odd that we’re thinking about predictions once again.  But predictions are important. They help us focus on the areas that will bring the biggest opportunities and challenges for our businesses and, from that, build strategies. Of course, there’s also the fact that the events of 2020 have undeniably impacted the ways we work and how organizations are run – particularly from a security perspective.  So, what do we think will be top-of-mind for IT and security teams as we approach the new year? Here are Tessian’s top four predictions. 
1. The corporate network (as you probably guessed) will disappear Remote work – or hybrid work – will stay. Businesses simply can’t go back to the “old” ways of working. Why? Because employees expect to work both from home and in the office. In fact, 89% of employees said they no longer want to work exclusively from the office every day of the week. This shift will completely transform the concept of a network, at least as we’ve come to know it in the traditional workplace. Today, company security is very much in the hands of the employees.  That’s why CISOs need to consider how their 2021 security strategies will protect and secure their people – not just endpoints and networks. This is especially important because people make mistakes, break the rules, and can be tricked or deceived by cybercriminals.  To put it simply: Not protecting people means that company data and systems are at risk. But it’s important that security doesn’t impede employee productivity or interrupt their daily workflow.  According to Tessian research, 54% of employees say they’ll find a workaround if security software or policies prevent them from doing their job and 51% say security tools and software impede their productivity.  So, what can you do to protect your people, without getting in their way? Remove the sharp objects, protect them wherever (and however) they work, and make sure your security solutions stop threats and not business.  This is what we call Human Layer Security.  2. Account takeover attacks will spike Account takeover (ATO) – a type of attack where a hacker gains access to the email account of a trusted person or organization and impersonates them to conduct fraudulent activities – will surge in 2021 as cybercriminals look for more ways to bypass secure email gateways (SEGs) and deceive people with phishing and spear phishing attacks.  Not sure what the difference between phishing and spear phishing is? Read this article: Phishing vs. Spear Phishing: Differences and Defense Strategies.  The problem is, despite training employees on how to spot phishing attacks, targets of ATO attacks will have no idea that the person in their trusted network has been compromised. Why? Because the emails appear genuine; the domain name and display name appear as usual. There are no “red flags” which means even the most tech-savvy employee wouldn’t question its legitimacy.  ATO attacks will erode people’s trust in email in 2021, rendering IT teams powerless in stopping people from falling for the scams. This is why we predict that more businesses will adopt a zero-trust model of email security and look for solutions that address threats from their extended network.  IT teams should be looking for advanced inbound email security solutions that use behavioral analysis, natural language processing, and machine learning to: Understand communication patterns  Spot anomalous email sending patterns  Accurately detect incidents of account takeover, before they turn into breaches.  3. The supply chain will become an even weaker link in security No company has control over the security behaviors of its vendors, partners, or suppliers, nor do they have visibility into breaches that happened outside of their organization and across their network.  Cybercriminals use this to their advantage.  By infiltrating smaller companies connected to a company network — either with malware, phishing attacks, or account takeover — they can impersonate the third-party, target a larger company’s employees, and access valuable systems and data. And, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will only heighten the risks associated with third-parties.  First, people will continue to work remotely which, according to various reports this year which not only makes them more vulnerable to phishing attacks, but also makes it more difficult for them to verify requests. For example, a wire transfer.  Second, financial uncertainty in 2021 may mean IT budgets are cut. CISOs have no way of knowing whether this is the case with their company’s own suppliers or partners and whether or not they are prioritizing security.  Once again, addressing the threats from your company’s extended network will need to be a priority in 2021, as will securing the entire email ecosystem.  4. We’ll get real when it comes to AI The AI hype cycle has left some companies burned by the false promise of AI and ML.  In 2021, however, we predict that the hype will die down. We’ll see less marketing claims and industry conversations around the technology. This is great news for true AI and ML innovators. It will allow the real AI and ML use cases to shine through and companies will start to see how the technology can benefit their business.  But, we should also consider how AI will be used for malicious purposes. We think that we’ll continue to see cybercriminals leveraging AI to make their deceptions and impersonations – either on email or in the form of deepfakes – more convincing and believable.  Likewise, advancements in NLP will lead to more sophisticated attacks that closely mirror the language and tone of the person being impersonated. This will make it more difficult for people to determine what’s real and what’s fake.  This is where automated security solutions will prove invaluable to security teams. Elvis M Chan, Supervisory Special Agent at the FBI and Nina Schick, Author of “Deep Fakes and the Infocalypse: What You Urgently Need to Know”,  took a deep dive into deepfakes at Tessian Human Layer Security Summit in September. And, according to Nina, “This is not an emerging threat. This threat is here. Now.”   Learn more about this type of threat and how AI is being used both in the creation of and defense against deepfakes by watching the full session on-demand.
Looking ahead to 2021 The uncertainty from 2020 won’t disappear come January. There’s still a lot for businesses to figure out, and IT leaders will be under pressure to deliver a seamless and secure working environment for employees, despite budget cuts and under-resourced teams.  But it’s worth noting that at the heart of the challenges businesses and security teams have faced over the past year – and will continue to face as we head into 2021 – is people.  Businesses must prioritize people’s wellbeing and their security to succeed.  Greater visibility into the human layer of an organization gives IT teams insight into their riskiest and most at-risk employees, allowing them to focus and address the areas in which their company is most vulnerable.  Automated security alerts ensure that every employee is made aware of threats in their inbox – no matter where they choose to work – and real-time alerts can help people make smarter security decisions. That’s why we predict that 2021 will be the year that businesses realize the power of Human Layer Security.
Spear Phishing
What is a Zero-Day Vulnerability? 3 Real-World Examples
Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
If you’ve read or listened to reports about hacks – whether it’s a phishing attack, brute force attack, or malware – you’ve likely seen or heard the phrase “zero-day vulnerability”. But, what is it?
For hackers – who are always studying software – these are like unlocked doors. When they find one, they can use malware or hacking techniques to take advantage of it with a zero-day exploit.
Once the software developer knows about a zero-day vulnerability, they must develop an update  — known as a “patch” — to fix the problem. For example, Microsoft releases a list of patches once a week. They call it “Patch Tuesday”.  But, as we’ll see, patches often come too late. Why Are Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Such a Big Problem?  By definition, a zero-day vulnerability is a security flaw that the developer doesn’t know about. That means that, until a patch is distributed, everyone using the software is vulnerable.  Zero-day vulnerabilities pose a big problem because there is no obvious way to prevent them from being exploited. And, even once a zero-day vulnerability is reported to the developer, users could be waiting for weeks, months, or even years for a security fix. Meanwhile, hackers are crafting sophisticated attacks – again, known as zero-day exploits – to take advantage of the vulnerability. Zero-day exploits can circumvent anti-malware software that relies on lists of known security issues. Even though most modern anti-malware products use more sophisticated detection techniques, some zero-day exploits can get around these, too.  Three Examples of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities We’re going to look at some high-profile zero-day vulnerabilities that have caused serious trouble in the past — and see what you can learn from them.  Cybercriminals Unleash NSA Zero-Day Exploit EternalBlue was a powerful zero-day exploit developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) sometime around 2011. EternalBlue exploits a vulnerability in Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) protocol and allows attackers to run code on target computers. The NSA knew about this Windows vulnerability for around five years, and allegedly only warned Microsoft about the exploit once EternalBlue had fallen into the wrong hands. Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability, but many users have failed to update their systems. Since escaping the NSA, the EternalBlue exploit has been used in many high-profile cyberattacks, starting when hackers used it to spread the notorious WannaCry ransomware in 2016. In 2017, an attack known as “NotPetya” used EternalBlue to target Ukraine’s banks, public services, and power suppliers. The NotPetya attack is widely considered the most devastating cyberattack of all time, causing an estimated $10 billion in damage. The lesson from EternalBlue is clear — always keep your devices patched and up-to-date. Windows and Flash Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Expose DNC Data In 2016, the US Democratic National Convention (DNC) fell victim to a spear phishing campaign, carried out by a Russian hacking syndicate known as Strontium. Strontium’s spear phishing emails contained a zero-day exploit that targeted vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows and Adobe Flash.  Google first revealed the vulnerabilities on October 31, 2016, when they were still being “actively exploited.”According to Microsoft, these security flaws allowed hackers to control a device’s browser, escape its security “sandbox,” and install a backdoor into the device. Strontium allegedly intended to use data stolen from Democratic Party officials to influence the 2016 US election campaign. You can read more  about the importance of information security in political campaigns on our blog. While the software vulnerabilities allowed Strontium to exfiltrate data from its targets, the exploit was made possible by spear phishing emails. It’s crucial to ensure that all your organization’s devices are protected by email security software that can detect advanced impersonation attacks. Windows Vulnerability Goes Unpatched for 20 Months On January 15, 2019, Google’s virus-hunting team, VirusTotal, announced its discovery of a zero-day vulnerability within Windows, later named CVE-2020-1464. The vulnerability allowed attackers to exploit how Windows authenticates file signatures. File signatures are created when a developer “code signs” a file, to prove a third party has not edited it. Using this vulnerability, attackers could sneak a malicious file past Windows’ security by appending it to a file that had been code-signed by a trusted developer such as Google or Microsoft. Despite reportedly being aware of the CVE-2020-1464 vulnerability, Microsoft did not release a patch for it until August 11, 2020 — nearly 20 months later. Throughout this period, Windows users were vulnerable to phishing attacks designed to spread vulnerability exploits. This is yet another reminder that it’s better to defend employees’ email accounts than to rely on patches and fixes. How to Defend Against Zero-Day Exploits Cybercriminals use different methods to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities, which means organizations need a comprehensive cybersecurity program to defend against these threats. Email security. Cybercriminals commonly use social engineering attacks, such as spear phishing, to get malware onto people’s devices. A crucial way to defend against zero-day exploits is to ensure your employees are protected from phishing.  Network security. Hackers can use “brute force attacks” to gain access to a network and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities. Implementing network security measures such as a firewall or virtual private network (VPN) can prevent this. Anti-malware software. Certain anti-malware software products notice unusual activity in files and processes and can detect some zero-day exploits before they are made public.  Security patches. You should always keep all devices patched and up-to-date. While developers can’t always patch vulnerabilities on time, out-of-date software enables many exploits. How Tessian Helps Defend Against Zero-Day Exploits Unlike spam filters and Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) which can stop bulk phishing attacks, Tessian Defender can detect and prevent the most advanced threats.  How? Tessian’s machine learning algorithms learn from historical email data to understand specific user relationships and the context behind each email. When an email lands in your inbox, Tessian Defender automatically analyzes millions of data points, including the email address, Display Name, subject line, and body copy.  If anything seems “off”, it’ll be flagged – keeping zero-day exploits out.  To learn more about how tools like Tessian Defender can prevent spear phishing attacks, read our customer stories or speak to one of our experts and request a demo today.
Human Layer Security
Tessian Webinar Recap: Cybersecurity Insights to Influence Your 2021 Strategy
By Monica Nio
Friday, November 20th, 2020
As the year comes to a close (and, for many of us, 2020 is a year we want to close the book on…fast) it’s a good time to reflect back on the lessons learned and set a plan to improve in the future. Let’s look at cybersecurity specifically. What should we look out for in 2021 after all that has happened?  We answered the following two questions in our latest webinar, which you can view on-demand here. What do industry experts think the biggest learning of the year has been?  What do they think should be top-of-mind for security leaders next year?  Tessian’s VP of Information Security, Trevor Luker, led a fireside chat with two industry experts, Jesse Starks, CTO at Breckinridge Capital Advisors, and Lena Smart, CISO at MongoDB, to capture their thoughts on the matter. Curious on what insights they shared? Read our notes below for key takeaways and quotes from the panelists.  Or, if you want to learn more about our guest speakers and their companies, skip down to the bottom of the page. And, if you want to be the first to know about future virtual events, subscribe to your newsletter.  3 takeaways from 2020 1. Hackers take advantage of key calendar moments and times of general uncertainty. We saw this happen throughout 2020, with phishing scams around COVID-19, the 2020 census, stimulus checks, and even the US presidential election.  Next up: retail scams in time for the holidays.  2. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Both panelists pivoted quickly and easily during the transition from office to home because they already had well-thought-out contingency plans in place. When was the last time you updated your emergency action plan? To learn  more about Jesse and Lena’s contingency plans and what you should consider when making one, watch the full webinar. 
3. Hackers have power in numbers. Today, organizations are being hit by increasingly advanced threats. That’s because an entire industry has been created out of phishing and social engineering, and adversaries operate in groups. They’re experts at their craft. That means security leaders have to level-up their inbound protection.  3 insights for 2021 1. Every employee should be a security champion. Why? Because your cybersecurity is only as strong as your most vulnerable or at-risk employee. After all, it’s people who control your most sensitive systems and data. But, employees can actually be your biggest defense against threats. That’s why education, policies, and security tools are all important. 
2. Expect more data protection regulations in the future. The cost of a breach (including fines for non-compliance) is definitely a concern for security and business leaders. But it’s actually the lost customer trust and damaged reputation that’s top-of-mind. Our panelists tips? Put security controls in place to ensure compliance and make sure you have a process in place for reporting incidents if they do happen.  If you want to learn more about compliance standards like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPPA why good cybersecurity is good for business, download our CEO’s Guide to Data Protection and Compliance. 3. Email security is a long-game strategy. Email is open by default, which means it’s the attack vector of choice for hackers. Looking forward to 2021, security leaders have to have a plan for inbound, advanced impersonation attacks.  
Bonus Insight from Jesse: “You can use technology to close all your gaps, but once you have that, then how can people outside manipulate your organization? Your people – the highest success rate for an attacker. People are always joining organizations, changing teams, changing roles, and learning. The technology changes, but it’s often fixed. The Human Layer is always moving so it makes it very challenging to secure and that’s why it’s so important.” For more tips and personal anecdotes, watch the full video now.  About Jesse Jesse Starks, CISSP, is the Chief Technology Officer at Breckinridge Capital Advisors. Jesse is Breckinridge’s Chief Technology Officer, and is also a member of the firm’s Risk Committee, Information Security Committee, and Business Continuity Committee. In his role, Jesse directs the strategic integration of technology across the firm.  He has over 17 years of experience designing and managing large-scale distributed systems. About Lena Lena Smart is the Chief Information Security Officer at MongoDB. Lena joined MongoDB with more than 20 years of cybersecurity experience. Before joining, she led cybersecurity at large organizations like Tradeweb, New York Power Authority, and InfraGard. She is also a  founding partner of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan – formerly the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity – which helps security leaders in academia and the private sector collaborate and tackle the most challenging security issues. About Breckinridge Capital Advisors Breckinridge Capital Advisors is a Boston-based, independently owned investment advisor specializing in investment grade fixed income portfolio management. Working through a network of investment consultants and advisors, they serve a wide variety of clients ranging from high net worth individuals to large institutions. Breckinridge’s assets under management totaled more than #42 billion as of September 30, 2020 Reflecting their commitment to ESG and sustainability, Breckinridge is a Massachusetts Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corp. They believe these designations help them in their goals to create positive, long-term impact for their clients, employees and the communities in which they live, work and invest. About MongoDB MongoDB is the leading modern, general purpose database platform, designed to unleash the power of software and data for developers and the applications they build.  Headquartered in New York, MongoDB has more than 20,200 customers in over 100 countries. The MongoDB database platform has been downloaded over 125 million times and there have been more than one million MongoDB University registrations.
Spear Phishing
What Is Credential Phishing and How Does it Work?
Wednesday, November 18th, 2020
Think about all of your different online accounts.  Email, social media, banking, eCommerce platforms, news sites….And that’s just in your personal life. What about at work?  For all of these different accounts, you’ll have a username, a password, a pin, or some combination of the three. We call these credentials and they’re the type of data that’s most frequently compromised in phishing attacks.  In fact, businesses (and individuals!) lose millions every year to the direct and indirect costs of credential phishing attacks.
Keep reading to find out what credential phishing is, what a credential phishing email looks like, and how to avoid falling victim to a credential phishing attack. What is phishing? First things first. Before we can dive into credential phishing specifically, we have to explain what phishing is broadly.  Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where the attacker uses “impersonation” to trick the target into giving up information, transferring money, or downloading malware.  Phishing attacks can take many different forms, including: Spear phishing: A targeted phishing attack against a known individual. Whaling: A phishing attack targeting a c-level executive. Senior employees make good targets, as they have easier access to a larger amount of money. Smishing: A phishing attack conducted via text message. Vishing: A phishing attack conducted via voice (phone or VoIP). Any of these types of phishing could be used to gain access to credentials. Attackers also use these methods to target other types of information, like credit card details or social security numbers, and to steal money from the target (“wire transfer phishing”). If you want to learn more about phishing and other social engineering attacks, check out these articles: How to Identify and Prevent Phishing Attacks Phishing vs. Spear Phishing: Differences and Defense Strategies 6 Real-World Examples of Social Engineering Attacks How does credential phishing work? Credential phishing almost always starts with an email. In fact, 96% of phishing attacks do. So how can you spot one? Let’s take a look at the elements of a credential phishing email. Subject line The cybercriminal’s first challenge is to get their target to open the phishing email. This requires an intriguing and attention-grabbing subject line. Research reveals some of the most commonly-used words and phrases in the subject lines of phishing emails, including: Request Follow up Urgent/Important Are you available?/Are you at your desk? Payment Status Hello Purchase Invoice Due You’ll notice that some of these subject lines elicit feelings of urgency, while others aim for familiarity.  According to another report,  25% of phishing emails get read. Ask any marketer, this is a high “open rate”. So, while these tactics might seem crude…they work. Main body of email The main content of a credential phishing email is designed to do two jobs: evade spam filters and persuade the target to click a malicious link. With that in mind, there are some hallmarks of a persuasive phishing email: It is addressed to you by name. It appears to be from a trusted sender with whom you regularly communicate. It uses the supposed sender’s proper branding, email signature, and communication style. The goal – of course – is to make the target believe it’s real.  That’s why successful phishing operations are highly targeted and backed by meticulous research about the target. The days of “spray and pray” bulk phishing emails are long gone. Cybercriminals are using increasingly advanced tactics, such as open source intelligence (OSINT) and hijacking an ongoing email conversation. Malicious link Unlike other types of phishing attacks, a credential phishing attack will always contain a link to a fake login page. But, like the main body of the email, the URL should look legitimate. Again, the goal is to trick the target, not raise their suspicions.  How? Piggyback off another brand’s reputation.  Research suggests that 52% of malicious links contain a brand name. This is known as a “spoof” domain. For example, a spoof of the URL “https://www.tessian.com” might be “http://www.tessian.nh”  Other techniques used for disguising URLs include using a link-shortening service like Bitly or using a hyperlinked image (for example, a “log in” button) Clickthrough rates on credential phishing links are estimated to fall anywhere from 3.4% (Verizon) to 10% (Proofpoint). This represents a very high success rate: remember that just one person clicking that link can cost a company millions of dollars. Phishing website Once you’ve clicked on the link, you’re directed to the phishing website designed to steal your credentials. We call these malicious websites.  The landing page must be just as convincing as the email itself. That means a good phishing login page will be meticulously crafted, using authentic images and fonts to perfectly recreate a brand’s genuine site. Did you know: Cybercriminals are increasingly securing their sites using HTTPS or SSL certification. Research from APWG suggests that 78% of phishing sites use SSL certificates. This security makes the user feel more secure, but it doesn’t mean the site owner can’t steal their data.  As well as looking convincing, the phishing site must also evade security controls that filter out non-whitelisted sites based on keywords such as “enter password.” But hackers have found a shortcut. Instead of using text on their login pages, they use images. That way, rule-based security controls and spam filters can’t spot the fakes.
What happens to phished credentials? Cybercriminals steal credentials for a variety of reasons. Once your username and password have been phished, they might be: Used for Business Email Compromise (BEC) or Vendor Email Compromise (VEC) attacks. Used to log into your email account and steal personal or company data. Used for identity fraud. Used for conducting fraudulent transactions. Sold on the dark web: Research from Digital Shadows shows there are over 15 billion sets of credentials available to buy online. Credential phishing can be especially damaging for anyone who reuses passwords. Why? If one password is compromised, several accounts could be exposed.   Researchers at Virginia Tech observed attackers using phished PayPal, LinkedIn, and Microsoft credentials to log into email accounts — even though the email accounts were not the attackers’ primary targets. What you need to know about credential phishing Now you know how credential phishing works, let’s clear up some myths and misconceptions about this particularly dangerous form of cyberattack. Credential phishing is effective Because phishing is such a common and well-established type of cyberattack, you might think people have become wise to these scams. Surely phishing for people’s credentials is an outdated tactic? Unfortunately not. Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated — and because many people naturally tend to trust others — we’re still clicking those phishing links.  According to Verizon, phishing was the most common cause of data breaches in 2019, with 22% of 2019 data breaches involving phishing. Phishing was also the leading issue in complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) in 2019, costing victims over $58 million in direct losses. Not all of these phishing attacks targeted credentials. Other types of phishing involve fake invoices or target credit card details. But credentials are the most common target, with over 60% of phishing attacks aiming to steal usernames and/or passwords. Looking for more phishing statistics? Check out this article: Must-Know Phishing Statistics: Updated 2020. 
Multifactor authentication won’t prevent credential phishing Multifactor authentication (MFA) is an essential extra layer of login security. But MFA isn’t a solution to credential phishing. This is a misconception that can leave people and organizations vulnerable. Here’s why.  Logging into an account protected by MFA requires you to enter your login credentials and take one or more additional steps to verify your identity — such as clicking on a link in an email, entering a verification code sent via SMS, or using an authenticator app.  Yes, this makes things a lot harder for hackers, who must steal a user’s account credentials and access the additional authenticator. But cracking MFA is far from impossible. Authentication tokens can be phished or hacked, just like usernames and passwords. That means MFA is an essential layer of protection that you should apply across all user accounts, but it’s not a failsafe against credential phishing. Credential phishing attacks increasingly target corporate email accounts Some organizations might focus their cybersecurity efforts on preventing attacks involving ransomware or wire transfer phishing, believing that consumers are more likely to be the target of credential phishing. Credential phishing attacks against consumers are very common, but research shows that credential phishing scammers now have their sights set on corporate targets. What makes corporate email accounts a particularly good target for credential phishing? Hackers can use one account as a foothold to conduct further phishing operations both within the organization and across their supply chain.  How to prevent credential phishing attacks Investment in cybersecurity is increasing year on year (up 44% in the UK since GDPR was rolled out) and preventing inbound attacks like credential phishing is a high priority for many companies.  Here are some solutions to consider.  Email security software You’ve seen the sophisticated techniques that cybercriminals use to fool their targets. Even the most tech-savvy of your team members can’t be expected to detect advanced credential phishing emails.  Instead of leaving people as the first and last line of defense against these targeted attacks, consider email security software like Tessian Defender that automatically protects your employees’ email accounts against credential phishing and other inbound threats.  Here’s how: Tessian scans your employees’ inboxes to learn their regular email style and map their trusted relationships. This way, it automatically knows when an employee receives correspondence from an unexpected sender. Tessian inspects inbound emails for signs that they might be phishing emails. Signs might include barely noticeable irregularities in the sender’s email address, potentially malicious links, or suspicious changes to the sender’s communication patterns. Tessian warns employees before they fall victim to a phishing attack and alerts security teams, who can quickly and easily investigate the attack and – to prevent future attacks – can add the sender’s domain to a denylist in a single click.  Security training Staff training in data protection and phishing awareness are both essential (and can even be a requirement under some privacy laws and regulatory standards). Why? Your staff should know what phishing emails and other cyberattacks look like and know what to do if they fall victim to one. But the average person isn’t a security expert. Like we said, even the most tech-savvy person can fall for sophisticated attacks. It’s no wonder, then, that most data breaches start with human error.  To learn more about the pros and cons of phishing awareness training, click here.  Password management In a world where passwords protect our most valuable and sensitive data, it’s incredible how many people still use the same password across multiple accounts. Re-using passwords increases your vulnerability across multiple accounts. Your organization should insist that employees use unique, complex passwords for each of their accounts. Employees should also be changing their passwords regularly. One way to ensure better password management is to use a password manager, ideally designed for enterprise, with centralized user account controls. You should also be implementing multi-factor authentication wherever possible. If you want to learn more about email security best practices, we recommend these articles: Email Security Best Practice 2020 Email Mistakes at Work and How to Fix Them The Psychology of Human Error How to Catch a Phish: a Closer Look at Email Impersonation Or, if you want to learn more about how Tessian helps enterprises around the world prevent credential phishing and other inbound and outbound threats, read our customer stories. 
Spear Phishing
How to Spot Retail Scams (2020)
By Laura Brooks
Monday, November 16th, 2020
Bargain hunters beware. The popular shopping period leading up to the holidays – along with mega online shopping days like Amazon Prime Day, Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – are creating the optimal environment for hackers’ phishing attempts.  And with more people staying home and shopping online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are even more opportunities for cybercriminals this year. In fact, 51% of UK consumers and 47% of US consumers told us they have done more online shopping in 2020 than in 2019.  Why do hackers prey on targets during peak shopping times? Consumers expect to receive more marketing and advertising emails from retailers during this time, touting their deals, along with updates about their orders and notifications about deliveries. Inboxes are noisier-than-usual and this makes it easier for cybercriminals to ‘hide’ their malicious messages and prey on individuals who are not security savvy.  What’s more, attackers can leverage the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals people are expecting to receive, using them as lures to successfully deceive their victims. When the email looks like it has come from a legitimate brand and email address, people are more likely to click on malicious links that lead to fake websites or download harmful attachments.  Impersonating a trusted brand or organization is a tried and tested method that cybercriminals use to successfully hack humans. It’s so effective that 68% of IT decision makers at UK retailers and 53% at US retailers told us, in a report we published last year, that they were worried about their brand being impersonated during the holiday shopping season.  Despite these concerns, though, our researchers this year reveal that 75% of the top 100 retailers in the US are not using Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) records – meaning that an overwhelming number of retailers are potentially at risk of having their brand’s domain impersonated by scammers in phishing emails.  Only 16% of top 100 US retailers were found to have DMARC policies set at the strictest settings.  To learn more about phishing emails – including what they look like and how to prevent them – click here.
How do hackers impersonate brands and people? Without DMARC records in place, or without having DMARC policies set at the strictest settings, hackers can easily impersonate a company’s email domain in phishing campaigns, convincing consumers that they are opening an email from a legitimate sender.  From that phishing email, hackers could lure their targets to a fake website that has been set up to steal account credentials or personal and financial information.  Against the backdrop of holiday shopping deals, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for someone to a ‘too good to be true’ deal that encourages them to click a link to ‘find out more’.  But it’s not just consumers that need to be wary.  Employees, customers, suppliers and vendors of these retailers also need to be aware of the threats that could be present in their inboxes during this time.  By spoofing the domain, a hacker could convincingly impersonate a senior executive asking an employee to share customer information or even pretend to be the CFO of an organization, requesting that the account details for invoicing be changed. Vendor impersonation (also called vendor email compromise)  is a persistent threat that many businesses are facing right now – one that has increased since the shift to remote working. In fact, Tessian research revealed that over a third (34%) of the phishing attacks organizations received between March – July 2020 purportedly came from an external supplier, while 26% supposedly came from a customer.  Hackers prey on the people-heavy nature of the retail industry. Using sophisticated social engineering techniques and clever impersonation tactics, they’re counting on people making a mistake and falling for their scams.  Looking for real-world examples of social engineering attacks? Read this article: 6 Examples of Social Engineering Attacks. How can you protect yourself from phishing scams? Retailers need to do everything they can to protect people from phishing scams.  Configuring email authentication records like DMARC and setting strict policies are both necessary first steps for preventing attackers from directly impersonating the business’s email domain. Education on the threats is incredibly important, too.  So if you suspect that you have received a phishing scam this shopping season, here’s what can do about it:   Always check the sender and verify that it’s a legitimate email address. Scammers will often take advantage of the fact that mobile email only shows a display name, as opposed to the full email address. This means that a bad actor could send a message from an unknown email address, but change the display name to “Amazon” to make it appear legitimate. Visit the retailer’s website and official social media channels to cross-check that the deal in question has been mentioned elsewhere. If you receive an email or text that has an associated action or a sense of urgency or deadline, it’s most likely a scam. Ask yourself, does this request make sense? Check for spelling or grammar mistakes. Legitimate messages from large companies will rarely have errors. Look for the padlock in the URL bar. The padlock symbol means the website you are visiting is secure. If the page you’ve been led to doesn’t have this, then it could be a scam. 
Compliance, DLP
11 Biggest GDPR Fines of 2020 (So Far)
Sunday, November 15th, 2020
Since the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was introduced in 2018, countless organizations have made headlines for violations. British Airways, Marriot International Hotels, Austrian Post…but what about this year?  Keep reading to find out how many fines have been handed out in 2020, which organizations have been slapped with the biggest fines, why, and how the violation could have been prevented.  Key findings include: Google received the biggest fine so far in 2020 – €50 million ($56.6 million) Over 220 fines have been handed out for GDPR violations in the first ten months of 2020 The total amount of fines issued so far in 2020 exceeds €175 million Between 2018 and 2019, the average number of fines issues per month increased by 260% July 2020 saw the highest number of fines issued in a single month since the GDPR was introduced – a total of 45 Only 20% of US, UK, and EU companies are fully GDPR compliant Misdirected emails have been the primary cause of data loss reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
More and more GDPR fines are being issued  As of December 2020, over 300 fines have been handed out for GDPR violations. Based on trends from the last 24 months, we can expect this number to continue rising.  Between July 2018 and June 2019, an average of 5 fines were handed out each month. But, between July 2019 and June 2020, an average of 18 fines were handed each month. That’s a 260% increase. And, with 45 fines issued for non-compliance in October 2020 alone, it’s clear that the EU authorities take information security and compliance very seriously. But, do organizations? Maybe not… Research suggests that only 20% of US, UK, and EU companies are fully GDPR compliant and – worse still – a whopping 30% of companies have yet to even start their GDPR compliance initiatives. Ensuring compliance is key, though, especially when organizations can be fined up to €20 million (just short of $23 million) or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is larger) for a violation. The biggest GDPR fines of 2020 so far With two months to go, we have already seen fines that shatter records set in previous years. Here are the biggest GDPR fines of 2020 so far: 1. Google – €50 million ($56.6 million)  Although Google’s fine is technically from last year, the company lodged an appeal against it. Last month, however, judges at France’s top court for administrative law dismissed Google’s appeal and upheld the eye-watering penalty.  Google was hit with this GDPR fine – the largest one to date – for multiple infractions under Articles 5, 6, 13, and 14. While each violation is slightly different, the long and short of it is that Google wasn’t transparent in divulging how they harvested and used data for ad targeting.  How the violation(s) could have been avoided: Google should have provided more information to users in consent policies and should have granted them more control over how their personal data is processed. 2. H&M — €35 million ($41 million) On October 5, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg, Germany, fined clothing retailer H&M €35,258,707.95 — the second-largest GDPR fine ever imposed. H&M’s GDPR violations involved the “monitoring of several hundred employees.” After employees took vacation or sick leave, they were required to attend a return-to-work meeting. Some of these meetings were recorded and accessible to over 50 H&M managers. Senior H&M staff gained ”a broad knowledge of their employees’ private lives… ranging from rather harmless details to family issues and religious beliefs.” This “detailed profile” was used to help evaluate employees’ performance and make decisions about their employment. How the violation(s) could have been avoided: Details of the decision haven’t been published, but the seriousness of H&M’s violation is clear. H&M appears to have violated the GDPR’s principle of data minimization — don’t process personal information, particularly sensitive data about people’s health and beliefs, unless you need to for a specific purpose. H&M should also have placed strict access controls on the data, and the company should not have used this data to make decisions about people’s employment. 3. TIM – €27.8 million ($31.5 million) Just two weeks into the new year on January 15, Italian telecommunications operator TIM (or Telecom Italia) was stung with a €27.8 million GDPR fine from Garante, the Italian Data Protection Authority, for a series of infractions and violations that have accumulated over the last several years.  TIM’s infractions include a variety of unlawful actions, most of which stem from an overly-aggressive marketing strategy. Millions of individuals were bombarded with promotional calls and unsolicited communications, some of whom were on non-contact and exclusion lists.   How the violation(s) could have been avoided: TIM should have managed lists of data subjects more carefully and created specific opt-ins for different marketing activities.   4. British Airways – €22 million ($26 million) In October, the ICO hit British Airways with a $26 million fine for a breach that took place in 2018. This is considerably less than $238 million dollar fine that the ICO originally said it intended to issue back in 2019.  So, what happened back in 2018? British Airway’s systems were compromised. The breach affected 400,000 customers and hackers got their hands on log in details, payment card information, and PI like travellers’ names and addresses.   How the violation(s) could have been avoided: According to the ICO, the attack was preventable, but BA didn’t have sufficient security measures in place to protect their systems, networks, and data. In fact, they didn’t even have basics like multi-factor authentication in place at the time of the breach. Going forward, the airline should take a data-first security approach, invest in security solutions, and ensure they have strict data privacy policies and procedures in place. 5. Marriott – €20.4 million ($23.8 million) While this is an eye-watering fine, it’s actually significantly lower than the $123 million fine the ICO originally said they’d levy. So, what happened? 383 million guest records (30 million EU residents) were exposed after the hotel chain’s guest reservation database was compromised. PI like guests’ names, addresses, passport numbers, and payment card information was exposed.  Note: The hack originated in Starwood Group’s reservation system in 2014. While Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, the hack wasn’t detected until September 2018. How the violation(s) could have been avoided: The ICO found that Marriott failed to perform adequate due diligence after acquiring Starwood. They should have done more to safeguard their systemswith a stronger data loss prevention (DLP) strategyand utilized de-identification methods.  6. Wind — €17 million ($20 million) On July 13, Italian Data Protection Authority imposed a fine of €16,729,600 on telecoms company Wind due to its unlawful direct marketing activities. The enforcement action started after Italy’s regulator received complaints about Wind Tre’s marketing communications. Wind reportedly spammed Italians with ads — without their consent — and provided incorrect contact details, leaving consumers unable to unsubscribe. The regulator also found that Wind’s mobile apps forced users to agree to direct marketing and location tracking and that its business partners had undertaken illegal data-collection activities.  How the violation(s) could have been avoided:Wind should have established a valid lawful basis before using people’s contact details for direct marketing purposes. This probably would have meant getting consumers’ consent — unless it could  demonstrate that sending marketing materials was in its “legitimate interests.” For whatever reason you send direct marketing, you must ensure that consumers have an easy way to unsubscribe. And you must always ensure that your company’s Privacy Policy is accurate and up-to-date. 7. Google – €7 million ($7.9 million) It has not been a good year for Google. In March, the Swedish Data Protection Authority of Sweden (SDPA) fined Google for neglecting to remove a pair of search result listings under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” rules under the GDPR, which the SDPA ordered the company to do in 2017.  How the violation(s) could have been avoided: Google should have fulfilled the rights of data subjects, primarily their  right to be forgotten. This is also known as the right to erasure. How? By “ensuring a process was in place to respond to requests for erasure without undue delay and within one month of receipt.”  You can find more information about how to comply with requests for erasure from the ICO here.  8. AOK (Health Insurance) — €1.24 million ($1.5 million) On June 30, the Data Protection Authority of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, imposed a €1.24 million fine on health insurance company Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK).  AOK set up contests and lotteries using its customers’ personal information — including their health insurance details. The company also used this data for direct marketing. AOK tried to get consent for this, but it ended up marketing to some users who had not consented. The regulator found that the company had sent people marketing communications without establishing a lawful basis. AOK also failed to implement proper technical and organizational privacy safeguards to ensure they only sent marketing to those who consented. How the violation(s) could have been avoided: What’s the main takeaway from the AOK case? Be very careful when sending direct marketing. If you need people’s consent, make sure you keep adequate, up-to-date records of who has consented. 9. BKR (National Credit Register) — €830,000 ($973,000) On July 6, the Dutch Data Protection Authority fined the Bureau Krediet Registration (‘BKR’) €830,000 for charging individuals to access their personal information digitally. BKR allowed customers to access their personal information for free on paper, but only once per year. BKR is appealing the fine. How the violation(s) could have been avoided: BKR shouldn’t have been charging individuals to access their personal information, and they shouldn’t have been imposing a once-per-year limit. The GDPR is clear — you may only charge for access to personal information, or refuse access, if a person’s request is “manifestly unfounded or excessive.” 10. Iliad Italia — €800,000 ($976,000) On July 13, the Italian Data Protection Authority fined telecoms company Iliad Italia €800,000 for processing its users’ personal information unlawfully in numerous ways. One issue was Iliad’s collection of consent for its marketing activities, which the regulator found had been “bundled” with an acknowledgment of the company’s terms and conditions. Iliad also failed to store its users’ communications data securely. How the violation(s) could have been avoided: Consent under the GDPR is defined very narrowly. If you’re going to ask for a person’s consent, you must make it specific to a particular activity. Don’t “bundle” your consent requests — for example, by asking people to agree to marketing and sign a contract using one tickbox. Data security is one of the cornerstones of the GDPR. Iliad appears to have failed to implement proper access controls on its users’ personal information. You must ensure that personal information is only accessible on a “need to know” basis. 11. Unknown – €725,000 ($821,600) In April, the Dutch Data Protection Authority handed out its largest fine to date to a so-far unknown company for unlawfully using employees’ fingerprint scans for its attendance and timekeeping records. The violation took place over the course of 10 months. Note: Under the GDPR, biometric data like fingerprints are classified as sensitive personal data and it is subject to more stringent protections.  How the violation(s) could have been avoided: The company should have had a valid, lawful reason to collect employees’ fingerprints. They should have also had technical measures in place to process the data and a clear process for deleting the data. 
What else can organizations be fined for under GDPR?  While the biggest fines so far in 2020 involve marketing activities, failure to remove personal data when requested by EU citizens, and unlawfully requiring employees to have their biometric data recorded, there are a number of ways in which a breach can occur.  In fact, so far this year, misdirected emails have been the primary cause of data loss reported to the ICO. But, how do you prevent an accident? By focusing on people rather than systems and networks. How does Tessian help organizations stay GDPR compliant?
Powered by machine learning, Tessian’s Human Layer Security technology understands human behavior and relationships, enabling it to automatically detect and prevent anomalous and dangerous activity, including misdirected emails. Tessian also detects and prevents spear phishing attacks and data exfiltration attempts on email.  Importantly, though, Tessian doesn’t just prevent breaches. Tessian’s key features – which are both proactive and reactive – align with the GDPR requirement “to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures together with a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of those measures to ensure the security of processing” (Article 32). To learn more about how Tessian helps with GDPR compliance, you can read our customer stories or book a demo. Or, for information about other data privacy legislation, check out our compliance hub. 
DLP
Email Security: Best Practices and Tools to Lock Down Email
Monday, November 9th, 2020
What messaging channel has more users than Facebook and WeChat put together, has been around since 1971, and today is one of the biggest communications channels worldwide. You guessed it: email.  Today, there are around 3.9 billion email users around the world and, with steady annual growth of 3% expected, we should have 4.3 billion email users by 2022. But, email wasn’t designed to be secure which means that the data sent back and forth every day is at risk of being compromised.  The bottom line: It’s a serious security risk for businesses, which are now by-and-large bound to strict compliance standards. In fact, it’s the threat vector IT leaders are most concerned about protecting. Keep reading to find out what email security is, how data can be lost or breached on email, and what employees can do to prevent data loss on email.  If you’re looking for information about cybersecurity best practice while working remotely, check out our ultimate guide here.
But, why do organizations need to secure email? Because it’s “open” by nature. An unlocked door. That’s how it was designed! It actually started as an intra-organization chat tool.  
But an open network is an at-risk network. Anything can come in or go out.  Bad-intentioned hackers can send malicious attachments and malware-ridden into any organization, so long as they have the email address of just one employee.  Likewise, bad-intentioned employees can send sensitive data outside of an organization, simply by hitting “send”.  That’s why we have two categories of email security. Inbound email security: Inbound email security protects against threats like spam, phishing, spear phishing, and other advanced impersonation attacks.  Outbound email security: Outbound email security prevents data exfiltration and prevents accidental data loss via misdirected emails.  To really understand how email security works, you have to understand how email works, which we’ll cover next.  Not interested in the nitty gritty of email? Skip down the page to learn more about: The different types of email security solutions Best practice for email security How Tessian detects and prevents both inbound and outbound threats on email
Email 101: How does email work? Put simply, email operates by way of servers speaking with each other.  The framework that governs these communications is called Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). SMTP is the protocol, which governs how servers send and receive packets of email data. The server sending an email will “push” the email to a receiving server. There are three key component parts of each email, all of which are to some extent based on traditional, physical mail. The envelope The envelope is the initial information pushed by the server sending an email to the receiving server. It simply indicates the email’s sender and recipient, as well as some validating commands exchanged between the sending and receiving servers. Email users can’t see the envelope, since it is part of the internal routing process for emails.  The header The email header, which is transmitted alongside the body of the email, contains metadata such as the time the email was sent, which servers sent and received the data, and so on. Email clients (such as Outlook, Gmail etc) hide header information from recipients. The body The body of an email is simply the content that a recipient sees and interacts with.  The envelope, the header and the body are all potential weak spots in organizations’ security perimeters. It is not difficult for an attacker in control of their own email server to spoof details of an email’s header, for instance, or to target an employee with a convincing impersonation of a trusted colleague or partner. (See other Tessian blogs for examples of display name and domain impersonation, which are regularly used to target enterprises and their employees in spear phishing campaigns.) So, what solutions exist to prevent inbound and outbound email threats?
Different types of email security solutions Secure Email Gateways Secure Email Gateways – also known as SEGs or Email Security Gateways – have been deployed by organizations for decades. SEGs offer an all-in-one solution that blocks spam, phishing, and some malware from reaching employees’ inboxes. They might use email encryption to make communications harder to intercept. As with DLP tools (see below), SEGs operate by way of extensive lists of rules that only defend against threats the system or organization has seen before.  SEGs use various methods to detect threats in emails. Generally, they inspect links and attachments, and apply rules to the email to raise suspicious characteristics (like if the email originates from a blacklisted IP address). Importantly, though, they can’t stop more advanced attacks like spear phishing. This is especially problematic because today, cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated social engineering tactics to bypass SEGs and trick end-users.  DLP Essentially, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software ensures that organizations don’t leak sensitive data.  DLP software monitors different entry and exit points within a corporate network, such as user devices, email clients, servers and/or gateways within the network. Like SEGs, DLP tools are invariably rule-based, limiting the range of new and evolving threats DLP products can defend against. Interested in learning more? Check out these articles:  What is Data Loss Prevention? A Complete Overview of DLP on Email The State of Data Loss Prevention 2020 The Drawbacks of Traditional DLP on Email SPF / DKIM / DMARC SPF, DKIM and DMARC are email authentication records that, in short, help protect organizations against attackers spoofing their domains. Although they can help stop spoofing attempts, the effectiveness of these protocols is limited by their lack of adoption. The vast majority of organizations around the world have not yet implemented DMARC, which means attackers can easily target vulnerable companies and spoof their domains. (For more information, head to Tessian’s blog on DMARC.) Given the shortcomings of these traditional solutions, security leaders must educate their employees on best practice so that they’re well-equipped to defend against email attacks and prevent data loss (both accidental and malicious).
Best practices for email security
Here are a few key strategies virtually all organizations can employ to help them defend against cyber threats on email. Password protection Even when organizations and attackers are in a cybersecurity arms race, the basics of good security still apply. Email accounts need strong passwords: a good guideline is that if you can remember your password, it isn’t strong enough. If your organization uses a password management tool like Lastpass or 1Password, make sure all passwords are stored on that system. Top tip: You should also consider implementing 2Fa. Manage sensitive information carefully Organizations control all kinds of sensitive data, and the popularity (and necessity) of newly flexible working habits means that security leaders need to be especially vigilant as to how data moves inside and outside organizations’ networks. To control the flow of data, organizations implement policies and procedures, including access controls.  But, these controls and human policies can impede productivity. In fact, 51% say security tools and software impede their productivity. Another 54% of employees say they’ll find a workaround if security software or policies prevent them from doing their job. Leverage technology to train employees Training and awareness is regularly talked up among cybersecurity practitioners.  The problem is, taking employees away from their day-to-day duties and delivering context-free workshops on cybersecurity will rarely result in better vigilance and lasting threat protection. It’s important to invest in technology that can deliver in-situ, contextual training, allowing employees to learn from activity taking place in their own inboxes. You can read more about the Pros and Cons of Security Awareness Training here. While password protection, access controls, policies, and training can all help improve an organization’s email security, they alone aren’t enough. After all, to err is human! That’s why we can’t leave people as the last line of defense. And, since traditional email security solutions like SEGs and rule-based DLP can’t stop more advanced threats, security teams need to look at next-generation technology like Tessian. 
How does Tessian detect and prevent inbound and outbound threats on email? Tessian’s approach to email security is different. We call it Human Layer Security and, across three solutions, we prevent data exfiltration, accidental data loss, and spear phishing attacks. Powered by machine learning, Tessian maps employee email activity and builds unique security identities for every individual. Our algorithms can then predict when inbound and outbound email activity is normal or abnormal and detect potential security incidents before they become breaches. No rules required. We secure hundreds of thousands of employees at some of the world’s leading enterprises. But, don’t take our word for it. Take it from them! We have dozens of customer stories. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about how Tessian can help your organization level-up its email security, speak to one of our experts today.
Compliance
CCPA FAQs: Your Guide to California’s New Privacy Law
Sunday, November 8th, 2020
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is now in force, and those that fail to comply are open to civil penalties and private lawsuits.  But, many business, security, and compliance leaders are still scratching their heads, wondering how the CCPA will affect them, how to stay compliant, and what consequences they face in the event of a data breach. We’re here to help. We’ve answered some of the key questions businesses are asking about, from the scope of the CCPA to violations under this strict data privacy law.  Important Note: The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) – also known as Proposition 24 – passed on November 3, 2020. The CPRA amends the CCPA, taking away some of the ambiguity and pushing the state statute closer to the GDPR. The CPRA: Gives consumers the right to opt out of sharing their data. That means publishers will be required to display “prominently and conspicuously” on their homepages a “Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information” link. Enforces a general purpose limitation on personal information use, limiting a business’s use and sharing of personal information to the purposes for which it was collected. Remember, consumers must be informed about how their data will be use before it is collected. Creates an agency to enforce compliance and dish out fines. The new regulatory body – California Privacy Protection Agency – has dedicated resources and the power to determine whether or not a violation was intentional or not. While – yes- the CCPA already contains similar notice requirements with respect to the purposes for which personal information will be processed, the CPRA offers California regulators additional enforcement options. What does this mean for you? Organizations must ensure compliance with the CPPA,  integrating the demands of the CPRA. The CPRA is set to take effect on January 1, 2023, but will apply to data collected from January 1, 2022.
Scope of the CCPA Who is covered by the CCPA? The CCPA covers several types of entities, primarily “businesses.” If your company qualifies as a business, it needs to comply with the CCPA. A business can be any legal entity that operates for profit in California and meets one or more of the CCPA’s three thresholds: It has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million It annually buys, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more California consumers, households, or devices  It earns 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information Does the CCPA only apply to big businesses? At first glance, the thresholds above may appear to only apply to large corporations, social media companies, and “data brokers.”  But the truth is, many companies with targeted advertising campaigns may meet the requirements of threshold “B.” This is because using third-party cookies is likely to constitute “selling personal information. (More information below. Click here to jump ahead.)  Therefore, a company is likely to be covered by the CCPA if its website or mobile app: Uses third-party advertising or analytics cookies (or similar technologies), and Generates at least 50,000 unique hits originating in California per year.
Does the CCPA cover non-Californian companies? It doesn’t matter if your business is based in Los Angeles, London, or Lahore. The determining factors are whether you collect the personal information of California residents (“consumers”), and whether you meet one or more of the three thresholds above. Does your business collect the personal information of California residents? It does if they:  Visit your website (assuming you use web analytics or cookies to measure engagement or track visitors) Sign up to your newsletter Make an enquiry about your services That means that if you have a website that attracts visitors from around the world, chances are you’re obligated to satisfy the CCPA.  What is “Personal Information” under the CCPA? The CCPA defines “personal information” as: “…information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.” It’s worth mentioning that this is arguably the broadest definition of “personal information” under any privacy law in the world. Nonetheless, the CCPA provides examples of the types of data that might qualify as personal information.  While this list is not exhaustive, it includes: Name Email address IP address Cookie data Device ID Biometric data Geolocation data It’s very common for a business to collect these types of information every time a person visits its website or uses its app. And, it’s also impossible to do business with a consumer without collecting at least some of this information.  Think about it. When you buy something on an e-commerce website, what information do you provide? What is a “Service Provider” under the CCPA? A service provider is a legal entity that processes personal information on behalf of a business.  For example, a marketing company receives a list of email addresses from a business and sends out its newsletter. The marketing company doesn’t have a direct interest in the end result of this activity — it simply obeys the instructions of the business. A service provider must also operate under a contract with the business from whom it receives personal information. This contract must prohibit the service provider from retaining, using, or disclosing the personal information for any purpose outside of the contract. In layman’s terms: Service providers are not directly liable for most CCPA obligations. But, if a service provider’s negligence or wrongdoing leads to a data breach, it can be sued by the client.  Service providers can also receive civil penalties (more on that here) in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, it’s not clear yet what these “certain circumstances” are. As and when we have more context, we’ll update this blog! Violating the CCPA What is the CCPA’s Private Right of Action? Under the CCPA’s private right of action, a consumer — or group of consumers — can bring a legal claim against a business that fails to secure certain types of their personal information and suffers a data breach. (You can read more about what types of PI in this blog.) But, what happens if a consumer does pursue this private right of action? It can lead to: Statutory damages — an amount of money paid to each consumer, determined by the court, depending on the seriousness of the breach (among other factors). Statutory damages fall between $100 and $750 per consumer, per incident. Actual damages —  an amount of money paid to each consumer, based on what they have actually lost as the result of a breach. In the event of large-scale data breaches involving millions of consumers, damages could add up to billions of dollars. We’ve yet to see any legal claims completed under the CCPA. However, what if the CCPA had been in force throughout Facebook’s “Cambridge Analytica” scandal? Privacy lawyer Nicholas Schmidt estimates that the damage could have been between $61.6 billion and $184.7 billion. What are the CCPA’s civil penalties? The California Attorney General can issue civil penalties to businesses or service providers that violate any part of the CCPA. The CCPA’s civil penalties can be for an amount of: Up to $7,500 per intentional violation, such as knowingly selling personal information where a consumer has opted out. Up to $2,500 per unintentional violation, such as failing to impose reasonable security measures leading to a data breach.  Note: This is why it’s so important organization’s have strong security policies, procedures, and solutions in place. Reducing risk by improving your security posture is key. Tessian helps prevent data exfiltration and accidental data loss. Our solutions also help security leaders proactively protect their systems and data through automated intelligence and robust investigation and remediation tools. Learn more. The California Attorney-General must give a business 30 days’ notice of its alleged CCPA violation. If the business can “cure” the violation within this period, it can escape a penalty. While it’s not clear how a business can “cure” a CCPA violation, examples may include imposing security measures to “stem” a data breach or successfully retrieving personal information that has been exfiltrated. Privacy regulators are increasingly imposing harsh penalties on big tech companies. The CCPA takes clear inspiration from the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has seen the following large fines: €50 million (Google, France) €27.8 million (TIM telecommunications company, Italy) €204.6 million (British Airways, UK — not yet enforced)
CCPA Data Security Requirements What counts as a data breach under the CCPA? The CCPA defines a data breach as: “…unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure as a result of the business’ violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information to protect the personal information” Here are the key elements of this definition: Unauthorized access Exfiltration Theft Disclosure A failure to “maintain reasonable security procedures and practices” Remember that a data breach can be intentional or unintentional and it can originate from a person inside or outside of your business. Read more about Insider Threats on our blog. According to the most recent California Data Breach Report, misdirected emails (emails sent to the wrong recipient) were the leading cause of data breaches. !function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");
In the UK, misdirected emails were also the most common cause of data breach in quarter 4 of 2019-20, according to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). As we’ve said, the CCPA requires a proactive approach to maintaining data security. Read about how Tessian can help CCPA compliance below or learn more about Tessian Guardian, which detects and prevents misdirected emails before they happen. What is “reasonable security” under the CCPA? The CCPA doesn’t define “reasonable security procedures and practices.”  However, in the most recent California Data Breach Report, the California Attorney-General clearly states that meeting the 20 Critical Security Controls from the Center for Internet Security (CIS) represents a minimum reasonable level of security.
The CIS Critical Security Controls include: Email and web browser protection Malware protection Application software security It’s worth noting that email is the threat vector most security leaders are worried about protecting. Find out why.  CCPA Consumer Rights What are the CCPA Consumer Rights? The CCPA’s consumer rights are: The right to know — consumers may request information about the types of information a business has collected, used, and shared about them over the past 12 months. They may also request copies of the specific pieces of information that the business holds about them. The right to delete — consumers may request that a business deletes the personal information it holds about them. The right to opt out — consumers may instruct a business not to sell their personal information The right to non-discrimination — businesses may not offer a lesser quality of goods or services or demand a higher price for goods or services if a consumer exercises their CCPA rights. The right to opt in (for minors) — businesses must obtain opt-in consent before selling the personal information of minors under the age of 16. They must obtain parental consent before selling the personal information of minors under the age of 13. In upholding these consumer rights, businesses have an obligation to provide individuals certain types of notice. More on that below.  What are the CCPA’s notice requirements? Under the CCPA, businesses must provide up to four types of notice to consumers: Privacy Policy — details which categories of personal information the business has collected, used, disclosed, and sold over the past 12 months. Every businesses must include a clear and prominent link to its Privacy Policy on its website and/or app. Notice at collection — provided at the point at which the business collects personal information from a consumer. This could appear, for example, as a disclaimer at the top of a sign-up form, informing consumers about what personal information the business is collecting and why. Notice of the right to opt-out — enables consumers to opt out of the sale of their personal information (where applicable). This must include a prominent link on a business’s homepage reading “Do Not Sell My Personal Information.” It might also take the form of a “cookie banner” enabling consumers to opt out of personalized advertising. Notice of financial incentives — informs consumers about any financial incentives offered for the processing of their personal information (where applicable). This can appear as a disclaimer when consumers are invited to sign up to certain types of “loyalty schemes.” What counts as “selling” Personal Information under the CCPA? The CCPA defines “selling” personal information as: “…selling, renting, releasing, disclosing, disseminating, making available, transferring, or otherwise communicating orally, in writing, or by electronic or other means, a consumer’s personal information by the business to another business or a third party for monetary or other valuable consideration.” There is a lot of debate about what this means for businesses. Virtually any transfer of personal information that benefits your company could constitute a “sale.”  And, because of the very broad phrasing, this definition is likely to include the use of third-party cookies, which involve “transferring” “personal information” (such as IP addresses and device IDs) to “a third party” for “valuable consideration.” Don’t worry, there are several approaches to transferring Personal Information without “selling” it, including engaging a service provider when disclosing personal information for business purposes. How can Tessian help with CCPA compliance? While some parts of the CCPA are still open to debate, we know the following facts for certain: Data breaches will leave CCPA-covered businesses open to significant risks of private litigation and civil penalties. Failure to implement reasonable security procedures and practices will: Increase the likelihood of a data breach occurring, and Lead to more substantial fines and more serious legal claims. As one of the CIS Critical Security Controls, “email protection” is one of the minimum requirements for “reasonable security.” Tessian’s Human Layer Security solutions can fulfill a crucial element of your company’s duty to maintain reasonable security procedures and practices. Tessian Guardian — prevents your employees from emailing personal or sensitive company information to the wrong person. Tessian Enforcer — prevents the exfiltration of company data to unauthorized recipients. Tessian Defender — detects and prevents inbound “spear-phishing” attacks designed to trick your employees into divulging personal information. Learn more about Tessian’s solutions by booking a demo. 
Customer Stories, Human Layer Security
Recap: Tessian Webinar, How to Build a Security Culture in Today’s Working World
By Monica Nio
Wednesday, November 4th, 2020
In our most recent research report, Securing the Future of Hybrid Working, we revealed that 75% of IT decisions makers believe the future of work will be “remote” or hybrid” – where employees could work wherever and however they’d like. So, we wanted to find out: How that might affect an organization’s security culture Why a positive security culture is even more important when employees are remote  How automation can help ease the burden on thinly-stretched IT teams while empowering employees to make smarter security decisions We explored these topics with Rachel Beard, Principal Security Technical Architect at Salesforce, and Ray Chery, SVP and Co-Head of Security Softwares at Jefferies. The discussion was led by Trevor Luker, Tessian’s VP of Information Technology.  Want to watch the full video? You can view it on-demand here. Otherwise, read our notes below for key takeaways and quotes from the panelists.  Want to learn more about our guest speakers and their companies? Skip down to the bottom of the page. And, if you want to be the first to know about future virtual events, subscribe to our newsletter.  5 key takeaways from the Tessian webinar We have to re-learn how to communicate in a hybrid work structure. Gone are the days of just walking up to our colleagues and asking if they sent that suspicious email or tapping someone in IT on the shoulder to clarify a new security policy.  That means security and business leaders need to arm their teams with tools to collaborate and frequently check-in to make sure each and every employee feels comfortable with their new remote set-up. The key to a positive security culture is making employees feel like they play an active role in protecting the organization’s systems and data. But how? Instill the value of privacy and security from the outset with training and other programs and initiatives. Watch the full webinar for more insights into exactly what Rachel and Ray do at Salesforce and Jefferies.   There are benefits and drawbacks to hybrid work. According to Rachel and Ray, productivity is on the rise, which is great news. Teams are aligning on shared goals and initiatives, despite being physically distant. But people are missing the “human” interaction and camaraderie of an in-person office and many are finding it difficult to separate their personal and professional lives. It’s essential you tackle this problem head on and prioritize employee wellbeing.  Automated tools can make security accessible for everyone. This also contributes to a positive security culture by reducing IT teams’ workload. More on this in the summarized Q&A below. Jefferies uses Tessian to prevent misdirected emails. Ray’s team loves Tessian for its “noise-to-value ratio”. So, what makes Tessian so easy to use? Our technology is powered by machine learning, which means our solutions automatically detect and prevent threats like data exfiltration, misdirected emails, and spear phishing with accuracy and ease.  To find out more about how Rachel and Ray think about security culture, Trevor asked them both several questions about their perspective on automation and how to make employees a part of the solution.  We summarized their answers below. Remember, you can watch the full interview here. Q. Prior to COVID, Jefferies went from 5% to 99% of their employees working remote. Will this change be permanent? Ray: “We’re all more comfortable with getting things done from home; we’ve had to grow accustomed to it over the course of the last couple months. [However], our IT team is planning on going back to being in the office 2 or 3 of the 5 days every week. And part of that is driven by the fact that the interaction with the team is different virtually. Teams that really do interact more collaboratively feel the need to still be in the office. I definitely think hybrid work is here to stay.”  Q. Would you say that increased employee workload makes your organization more vulnerable? Ray: “We’re all doing a million things at once. When you’re stretched that thin all the time, folks tend to make mistakes, are more likely to click on an email that they’re not supposed to, or may not be reading things as thoroughly as they need to. The risks are definitely enhanced given that everyone is working from home now.”  Looking for more insights into why people make mistakes and how businesses can prevent errors before they turn into breaches? Check out our research, The Psychology of Human Error. Q. How can automation save your IT team’s time? Rachel: “At Salesforce, we’ve always had a lot of self-service mechanisms. We have Concierge as our service where you can go searching for the information that you need and open a ticket only if you need advanced help. But now, we’re looking at other ways that our customers can do the same. That way, IT can be more available for the highly specialized activities, and some of the more routine ones can be addressed by the employees themselves.”  Ray: “Ultimately, there’s no patch for human error. Humans are going to make mistakes. I think as much automation as we can incorporate into our security stack is really for the better. It removes repetitive errors, streamlines incident management, and reduces the boring stuff that our security analysts need to do. Instead of formally writing tickets and reaching out to me as an employee every time I violate an email rule, we can set it up as such so there’s a pop-up instead.” 
Q. Can tools add to an organization’s security culture in a positive way? Rachel: “Yes, when you have the guidelines and boundaries in a really transparent way. It makes everything more safe for everybody. You just have to think about how to implement that so that you allow your users to be able to do their work effectively and not get in their way too much or become an obstacle while protecting your sensitive data.”  Q. How has Tessian’s Guardian helped with Jefferies’ security culture in today’s working world? Ray: “We’re doing so many things now at home. And at home, we’re more exposed and more likely to make mistakes. We love Tessian because it’s very low-impact [on obstructing employees’ work]. It is a product that delivers with accuracy. Our IT team likes the noise-to-value ratio. When I think about the misaddressed email capabilities alone – we’re all sending a million emails a day – it’s very easy for us to send an email to the wrong person. The way that Tessian handles it in a seamless way is really great.”  Learn how Guardian can help your organization prevent accidental data loss. View Guardian’s page now. For more insights and personal anecdotes, watch the full video now.  About Rachel Rachel Beard is the Principal Security Technical Architect at Salesforce. Rachel joined Salesforce in 2014 and is a Principal Security Technical Architect.  Rachel’s areas of expertise are Salesforce security, data privacy, and compliance. She has over 14 years experience at Salesforce, spanning everything from System Administrator to Developer and even Product Marketing. Rachel is also the volunteer coordinator for Wet Nose Rescue, a leader of a Pride ERG at Salesforce, and a chair on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at her local public school.  About Ray Ray Chery is the SVP and Co-Head of Security Software at Jefferies. Ray Chery is Senior Vice President and Co-Head of Security Software in Jefferies’ Technology Investment Banking Division. Based in San Francisco, Ray focuses primarily on enterprise security software. He has advised on more than $50B in transaction value over his 14-year career as a technology banker and has worked with and advised companies such as Bomgar, Carbonite, CrowdStrike, DigiCert, Forcepoint, Gigamon, Imperva, Plexxi, Sailpoint and Tufin.  He has also served on the Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) and continues to volunteer with Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. About Jefferies Jefferies, the global investment banking firm, has served companies and investors for over 55 years. Headquartered in New York, with offices in over 30 cities around the world, the firm provides clients with capital markets and financial advisory services, institutional brokerage and securities research, as well as asset and wealth management. About Salesforce Salesforce is a customer relationship management solution that brings companies and customers together. It’s one integrated CRM platform that gives all your departments — including marketing, sales, commerce, and service — a single, shared view of every customer.
Tessian Culture
A Solution to HTTP 502 Errors with AWS ALB
By Samson Danziger
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020
At Tessian, we have many applications that interact with each other using REST APIs. We noticed in the logs that at random times, uncorrelated with traffic, and seemingly unrelated to any code we had actually written, we were getting a lot of HTTP 502 “Bad Gateway” errors. Now that the issue is fixed, I wanted to explain what this error means, how you get it and how to solve it. My hope is that if you’re having to solve this same issue, this article will explain why and what to do.  First, let’s talk about load balancing
In a development system, you usually run one instance of a server and you communicate directly with it. You send HTTP requests to it, it returns responses, everything is golden.  For a production system running at any non-trivial scale, this doesn’t work. Why? Because the amount of traffic going to the server is much greater, and you need it to not fall over even if there are tens of thousands of users.  Typically, servers have a maximum number of connections they can support. If it goes over this number, new people can’t connect, and you have to wait until a new connection is freed up. In the old days, the solution might have been to have a bigger machine, with more resources, and more available connections. Now we use a load balancer to manage connections from the client to multiple instances of the server. The load balancer sits in the middle and routes client requests to any available server that can handle them in a pool.  If one server goes down, traffic is automatically routed to one of the others in the pool. If a new server is added, traffic is automatically routed to that, too. This all happens to reduce load on the others.
What are 502 errors? On the web, there are a variety of HTTP status codes that are sent in response to requests to let the user know what happened. Some might be pretty familiar: 200 OK – Everything is fine. 301 Moved Permanently – I don’t have what you’re looking for, try here instead.  403 Forbidden – I understand what you’re looking for, but you’re not allowed here. 404 Not Found – I can’t find whatever you’re looking for. 503 Service Unavailable – I can’t handle the request right now, probably too busy. 4xx and 5xx both deal with errors.  4xx are for client errors, where the user has done something wrong. 5xx, on the other hand, are server errors, where something is wrong on the server and it’s not your fault.  All of these are specified by a standard called RFC7231. For 502 it says: The 502 (Bad Gateway) status code indicates that the server, while acting as a gateway or proxy, received an invalid response from an inbound server it accessed while attempting to fulfill the request. The load balancer sits in the middle, between the client and the actual service you want to talk to. Usually it acts as a dutiful messenger passing requests and responses back and forth. But, if the service returns an invalid or malformed response, instead of returning that nonsensical information to the client, it sends back a 502 error instead.  This lets the client know that the response the load balancer received was invalid.
The actual issue Adam Crowder has done a full analysis of this problem by tracking it all the way down to TCP packet capture to assess what’s going wrong. That’s a bit out of scope for this post, but here’s a brief summary of what’s happening: At Tessian, we have lots of interconnected services. Some of them have Application Load Balancers (ALBs) managing the connections to them.  In order to make an HTTP request, we must open a TCP socket from the client to the server. Opening a socket involves performing a three-way handshake with the server before either side can send any data.  Once we’ve finished sending data, the socket is closed with a 4 step process. These 3 and 4 step processes can be a large overhead when not much actual data is sent. Instead of opening and then closing one socket per HTTP request, we can keep a socket open for longer and reuse it for multiple HTTP requests. This is called HTTP Keep-Alive. Either the client or the server can then initiate a close of the socket with a FIN segment (either for fun or due to timeout).
The 502 Bad Gateway error is caused when the ALB sends a request to a service at the same time that the service closes the connection by sending the FIN segment to the ALB socket. The ALB socket receives FIN, acknowledges, and starts a new handshake procedure. Meanwhile, the socket on the service side has just received a data request referencing the previous (now closed) connection. Because it can’t handle it, it sends an RST segment back to the ALB, and then the ALB returns a 502 to the user. The diagram and table below show what happens between sockets of the ALB and the Server.
The fix … is fairly simple.  Just make sure that the service doesn’t send the FIN segment before the ALB sends a FIN segment to the service. In other words, make sure the service doesn’t close the HTTP Keep-Alive connection before the ALB.  The default timeout for the AWS Application Load Balancer is 60 seconds, so we changed the service timeouts to 65 seconds. Barring two hiccoughs shortly after deploying, this has totally fixed it. The actual configuration change I have included the configuration for common Python and Node server frameworks below. If you are using any of those, you can just copy and paste. If not, these should at least point you in the right direction.  uWSGI (Python) As a config file: # app.ini [uwsgi] ... harakiri = 65 add-header = Connection: Keep-Alive http-keepalive = 1 ... Or as command line arguments: --add-header "Connection: Keep-Alive" --http-keepalive --harakiri 65 Gunicorn (Python) As command line arguments: --keep-alive 65 Express (Node) In Express, specify the time in milliseconds on the server object. const express = require('express'); const app = express(); const server = app.listen(80); server.keepAliveTimeout = 65000
Looking for more tips from engineers and other cybersecurity news? Keep up with our blog and follow us on LinkedIn.
Customer Stories, Human Layer Security
Recap: Q&A With Chris Kovel, CTO, PJT Partners
By Maddie Rosenthal
Monday, November 2nd, 2020
In case you missed it, Chris Kovel, Chief Technology Officer at PJT Partners, recently joined Robyn Savage, Customer Success Manager at Tessian, for a Q&A about what threats are top of mind and how Tessian helps PJT Partners keep data secure. While you can watch the full video on-demand, we’ve compiled our notes for a high-level overview of their 30-minute discussion. Want to learn more about Chris or PJT Partners? Skip down to the bottom of the page. And, if you want to be the first to know about future virtual events, subscribe to our newsletter.  4 things we learned from Chris  There are three “types” of threat actors. The outsider with intent, the insider with intent, and the well-intentioned employee. In terms of what keeps Chris up at night, it’s often the well-intentioned employee who sends misdirected emails.  While most of us have fired off an email to the wrong person, that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious consequences. There are. If data is leaked (especially in highly regulated industries like Financial Services, Healthcare, and Legal) organizations could face hefty fines for non-compliance, lose customer trust, and suffer a damaged reputation. But… 90% of emails don’t contain sensitive information. That’s why it’s so important that security and compliance leaders develop a process for classifying data as a part of their larger data loss prevention strategy.  PJT Partners uses Tessian for both inbound and outbound email security to detect and prevent misdirected emails, insider threats, and advanced impersonation attacks.  To find out a bit more about what’s top of mind for Chris and how Tessian fits into his overall security strategy, Robyn asked Chris several questions. We’ve summarized them below. Don’t forget, you can watch the full interview here. Q. Are there certain employees who you view as particularly risky or at-risk? “There are absolutely higher value targets that we have to pay more close attention to… But the controls we put in place are for the firm, right? They’re put in place to help everybody.  The leak can happen at any level. It could be a low-level junior banker, it can be someone in the technology department, it can be a partner of the firm.” Q. How has COVID affected your organization and your approach to cybersecurity? “Bankers and everyone else are using technology more than they’ve ever used it before. That means devices are a key for doing business now, whether it’s pulling up a quick video or sending documents. But email still actually accounts for the lion’s share of their communication. Fortunately, Tessian has some really great tools in place to protect users on devices in the same way they’re protected on desktop.” Want to learn more about how to keep your devices secure? Check out our Remote Worker’s Guide to BYOD Policies. Q. Shifting to inbound, what features make Tessian an especially appealing and effective solution at PJT? “Frankly, Tessian is extraordinarily clever in how it detects advanced impersonation. The amount of suspicious emails that Defender flags for us is quite staggering.” “You can spoof an email address in any way, shape, or form so having a product that basically says, “this one email doesn’t look like the others” or “this email likely isn’t actually coming from this person” is really helpful to the larger firm and individual users. In-the-moment warnings are helping our employees get better at actually recognizing which emails are legit and which aren’t and our administrators can help them work through it.”
For more insights and personal anecdotes, watch the full video now.  About Chris Chris Kovel is the Chief Technology officer at  PJT Partners. Prior to joining PJT Partners, Chris spent the previous 25 years at Morgan Stanley in the technology department. In Chris’ last role at Morgan Stanley, he was primarily focused on Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and Data for the Wealth Management division.  Over the course of the 25 years at Morgan Stanley, Chris developed significant technologies for Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Wealth Management, Research & Sales Distribution. Chris holds two patents for banking and trading technologies. Chris led the project and team that won the 2018 Banking Technology Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Next Best Action implementation. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Chris worked for Lotus Development Corporation. Chris received his BA from Skidmore College About PJT Partners PJT Partners is a premier global advisory-focused investment bank headquartered in New York City. Their team of senior professionals deliver a range of services to corporations, financial sponsors, institutional investors, alternative investment managers, and governments around the world. 
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