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  • Rush Intel Services

Spies, Trump, and Social Engineering

If you have been paying attention to the news you may have seen the story of how a Chinese Woman was arrested at the Mar-a Lago Resort, carrying 4 cell phones, a laptop, several sim cards, and a thumb drive with "malicious" software.

Times have changed in regards to Tradecraft. James Bond no longer needs a Gun, an exploding pen, and a DB9 to take down government resources. A thumb drive is more dangerous these days than Seal team 6 at your front door.

How dangerous is a thumb drive?

Secure systems often have protections in place to prevent outside users from accessing the system. Firewalls prevent unknown computers from connecting and accessing or changing data. Even your home router has these protections.

Thumb drives can be loaded with a malicious program that will install a "Backdoor" on a system. Once installed these programs are invisible. They operate by using a "reverse Shell" which establishes a connection between the infected computer and an outside user. Because the connection is being initiated from inside the secure network, in most cases the firewall does not block this connection. This allows an outside user to gain control of your system. Full Control.

You might not be worried about this risk in your business. Why would you let someone put a random thumb drive in your computer???

The Art of Social Engineering:

Definition: Social engineering is a form of techniques employed by cyber-criminals designed to lure unsuspecting users into sending them their confidential data, infecting their computers with malware or opening links to infected sites.

Its unknown how the Chinese woman may have been attempting to get access to systems at the Mar-a lago resort. Here is an example of how social engineering could be used on a normal office building:

1. Attacker schedules a job interview

2. While waiting for his interview in the lobby, he spills his coffee all over his resume. How embarrassing!

3. In a panic, and covered in coffee, he approaches the girl at the front desk. He tells her how much he needs this job, hes been struggling, kids need shoes, etc... He asks her if she would print him another copy of his resume, he dosen't have time to go home before his interview. She agrees.

He hands her a thumb drive.

That's all it takes.

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