Cybersecurity

FBI issues phish warning to feds

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Federal law enforcement has warned government network operators that agency employees have been targeted for years by cybercriminals leveraging social media platforms.

FBI flash notifications posted June 23 on the Public Intelligence open-source website said investigators had identified dozens of unique Facebook personas, domains and IP addresses used to launch spear phishing attacks on civilian, military and cleared defense contractor personnel, as well as private industry networks. The spear phishing activity associated with the sites and identities dates back to 2011, the agency said.

The FBI warnings, issued May 29, said investigations have uncovered 56 unique Facebook personas, 16 domains and a group of IP addresses associated with "malicious cyber actors." The personas' owners, said the agency, typically attempt to befriend federal, state and local government network users, as well as employees on private industry networks. They then send a malicious link through an associated domain to their targeted victim via email or chat. The link, the FBI said, would subsequently compromise the victim's computer. While the warnings refer specifically to Facebook, the FBI said it believes the personas maintain equally malicious presence on other social networking sites, including LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. The group, it said, has also created look-alike Web sites to fool victims.

The FBI said family and friends of federal workers have also been targeted.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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