Malicious actors increasingly targeting organisations through corporate ‘doxing’: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2021

Criminals initiate email chains with employees while impersonating themselves as someone from the company

Targeted cyberattacks against organisations are on the rise, according to a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

According to the report, cybercriminals are leveraging various tactics used by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups works to achieve “a wide variety of their goals, such as using ransomware for targeted hits on organisations.”

According to Kaspersky researchers, corporate doxing is another targeted attack that organisations must be careful about.

It is “the process of gathering confidential information about an organisation and its employees without their agreement to harm them or profit from it. The proliferation of publicly available information, data leaks and advancement of technology are leading to a state in which tricking employees into giving out confidential information or even transferring funds is becoming easier than ever before,” Kaspersky explained.

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BEC is one such method used to dox organisations. Criminals initiate email chains with employees, while impersonating themselves as someone from the company as part of BEC attacks.

In February 2021, Kaspersky detected 1,646 such attacks.

Corporate doxing

“Generally, the purpose of such attacks is to extract confidential information, such as client databases, or to steal funds. For instance, Kaspersky researchers regularly analyse cases in which criminals impersonate one of the target organisations’ employees using emails very similar to the real ones to extract funds,” the report said.

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However, such attacks are not scalable without criminals gathering and analysing public information available on social media and beyond, such as names and positions of employees, their whereabouts, vacation times and connections.

Furthermore, BEC attacks are just one type of attack that exploits publicly available information in order to harm an organisation.

“The diversity of ways organisations can be doxed is staggering and, besides the more obvious methods such as phishing or compiling profiles on organisations using data leaks, includes more creative, technology-driven approaches,” Kaspersky said.

Identity theft

Another popular strategy for corporate doxing is identity theft.

“As a general rule, doxers rely on information to profile specific employees and then exploit their identity. New technologies such as deepfakes make such initiatives easier to execute provided there is public data to begin with,” it explained.

“While doxing is generally believed to be an issue for regular users – we often see it figure in social media scandals—corporate doxing is a real threat for an organisations’ confidential data and one that should not be overlooked. The doxing of organisations, just as of people, may result in financial and reputational losses, and the more sensitive the confidential information extracted is, the higher the harm. At the same time, doxing is one of the threats that could be prevented or at least significantly minimised with strong security procedures within an organisation,” comments Roman Dedenok, security researcher at Kaspersky.

Published on April 14, 2021

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