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Social Engineering - Exploiting the Human Weakness


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A case study presentation of a Social Engineering exercise conducted by the team at NII.

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Social Engineering - Exploiting the Human Weakness

  1. 1. Exploiting the human weakness Presentation by: Wasim ‘washal’ Halani Network Intelligence India Pvt. Ltd.
  2. 2. Network Intelligence, incorporated in 2001, is a committed and well-recognized provider of services, solutions and products in the IT Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance space. Our professionals have made a mark for themselves with highly satisfied clients all across the globe supported by our offices in India and the Middle East. As an ISO 27001-certified company ourselves, we are strongly positioned to understand your needs and deliver the right answers to your security and compliance requirements. We have won accolades at numerous national and international forums and conferences. Our work truly speaks for itself and our clients are the strongest testimony to the quality of our services!
  3. 3.  Information security at every organization is one of the most important aspects!  It is people who handle this information  Social Engineering is exploiting the weakness link – the employees
  4. 4. “Social Engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information, rather than by breaking in or using technical hacking techniques; essentially a fancier, more technical way of lying.” [Source: Wikipedia]
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  7. 7.  Wordpress vulnerability on the blogs of their websites Kevin ‘don’t call me a security expert’ Mitnick Dan ‘I smile when I am hacked’ Kaminsky
  8. 8.  Phishing  Baiting  Identity Theft  Dumpster Diving  Email Scams  Use of Authority  Request for Help  Indulging Curiosity  Exploiting Greed =Abuse of Trust
  9. 9.  IT/ITES Company  Two offices  About 400 – 500 employees  We had previously conducted other security projects for them  Guards were familiar with us  We also knew a few people from our previous projects
  10. 10.  Only 3 people in the organization aware of the exercise  Obtain ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card!  Bought a spy pen-cam  Create fake authorization letters ◦ Fake letterhead (thank-you Photoshop) ◦ Fake signatures ◦ Fake content  Understand the organization’s process flow  Obtain employee list  Define ‘targets’
  11. 11.  Security Auditor ◦ Surprise audit on behalf of Government Agency ◦ Chinese attacks on Indian institution (same-day newspaper headlines )  College Student ◦ Research project  Customer ◦ Call-center  Phishing  Social Networking
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  13. 13.  Visit the office  Convince the guard to let me in for the surprise security audit ◦ “It won’t be a surprise if you tell anyone”  Once again we interviewed people ◦ Some suspicious ◦ Reading is not verifying  Dumpster diving
  14. 14.  Gain unauthorized access  Stay back late, after almost all employees left ◦ Photograph the office  ‘Steal’ sensitive documents ◦ From open drawers  Check personal folders kept on desks
  15. 15.  Sensitive information on technologies used  Network architecture revealed  Lot of technical information revealed to “college student” doing a project, as well as journalist  Found bundle of official letter heads in store- room  Gained access to the Server Rooms
  16. 16.  We registered a domain with a single letter difference ◦ Registered email accounts  Prepared a ‘Employee Complaint/Feedback Form’ ◦ Company header, styling etc.  Sent out mails to on behalf of HR person  Employees are asked to enter their ‘credentials’ to log in to the system  The final page has a PDF that is to be downloaded as a ‘unique token number’
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  18. 18.  About 10 users entered their credentials which we captured  No one downloaded the PDF   Took about 10-15 mins. for HR dept. to be alerted ◦ They sent out an email denying the fake email  One employee had a discussion with HR and responded back to our email address
  19. 19.  Linkedin ◦ Fake employee profile  Searched for people not listed in the network ◦ Joined the company ‘network’ ◦ Sent out invites  Facebook ◦ Multiple fake profiles  Added each other as friends
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  21. 21.  Turns out they had a new employee  Everyone thought his was the ‘fake’ profile  Very difficult to identify the real profile  ‘Attractive’ profiles  receive friend requests
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  23. 23.  Confidential…
  24. 24. Contact:    @washalsec