Adobe Flash can’t seem to catch a break. Their most current black eye has arrived in the form of yet another zero-day exploit of a vulnerability in the latest versions (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) of the browser plug-in. According to Trend Micro’s blog, the hacking group Pawn Storm is targeting government workers via spear-phishing emails that contain links to news about current events. Instead of taking them to a legitimate news story, the links lead to compromised websites that can install malware onto the victim’s computer via the aforementioned exploit. Rather than the usual identity theft, this group seems to have a more politicized agenda and bears similarities to attacks on NATO from last year.
What this means for you:
If you are new to this blog, you may not have been briefed on the #1 Rule of Personal Technology Security: “Don’t click strange email links.” Even clients who have weathered years of me saying this sometimes let their guard down, so Rule #2 is “Be prepared for the worst,” which you should interpret as (1) having a strong firewall, (2) trusted anti-malware installed, and (3) a contingency straegy that includes backups and plans for operating without core infrastructure when things do go wrong. The sad matter of fact is that cyberattacks will get past anyone’s mental guard – we are only human after all – at which point properly installed and configured technology can act as a safety net. Note the emphasis – poorly implemented security is worse than nothing at all in some cases. When you have nothing, at least you aren’t lulled into a false sense of security. And don’t count on the (perhaps prematurely reported) death of Flash as means to improve everyone’s overall security profile. We haven’t quite seen the end of Flash just yet, and there are plenty of other platforms (Java anyone?) that could easily take its place if and when Adobe finally puts this software out to pasture for good.http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/10/new-zero-day-exploit-hits-fully-patched-adobe-flash/