The Cyber Risks Hidden In Plain Sight

With television shows wanting to portray the most sophisticated and intriguing plots, it seems somewhat odd that cyber attacks do not play a bigger part.

The NCA (National Crime Agency) says that cyber criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated, but also states that the distinction between nation states and criminal groups is increasingly blurred.

The reason for this is that cyber crime activity takes place behind computer screens, within code that is vulnerable, because the data and software is transmitted by radio waves or a wired connection that seemingly has little human interaction.

But what if we could see the things cyber criminals use to perpetrate these acts?

There is no coincidence that the software applications are becoming more sophisticated and cyber attacks are more sophisticated.

The reason for this is hidden in plain sight – cyber criminals are simply using legitimate software as a code base.

Cyber criminals are producing code that is a Frankenstein hack of useful applications to produce their own software used for illegitimate purposes.

One example of this was the Imminent Monitor Remote Action Trojan (IM RAT) malware which was recently disrupted by a group of police task forces around the globe. The software started life as an IT administration tool for remote PC access that was hacked, and which enabled criminals to disable security applications and install other malware.

Criminals were then able to install other similarly derived software such as applications that can access users’ cameras and for keystroke logging.

This gives cyber criminals tools that can be tailored to multiple industries, a literal pick-n-mix of software applications that can be used to target the legal industry.

For this reason, the legal industry should be aware of activity against other industries, as the software and tactics used against others can be easily applied to their industry.

The legal sector should also beware if they find malware, they should check for other co-malware applications. Anti-virus and malware detection should also be used with other tools as software derived from legitimate applications may not appear as bogus. The legal industry can use ‘anti-key logger’ tools and their PCs task manager to detect applications that do not belong on their PC, and better help disrupt cyber criminals’ activities.

Is your law firm prepared for these threats?