BLOG

Another security problem

I had hoped to move away from security blogging this week and focus on some other issues. But today I see that both CAUCE and John Levine are reporting that there is malware spam coming from a Cheetahmail customer.

Looking at what they shared, it may be that Cheetahmail has not been compromised directly. Given mail is only coming from one /29, which belongs to one customer it is possible that only the single customer account has been compromised. If that is the case, then it’s most likely one of the Cheetahmail users at the customer got infected and their Cheetahmail credentials were stolen. The spammer then gained access to the customer’s Cheetahmail account.  It’s even possible that the spammer used the compromised customer account to launch the mail. If this is the case, the spammer looked exactly like the customer, so most normal controls wouldn’t have noticed this was a spammer.

This highlights the multiple vectors these criminals are using to gain access to ESPs and the mailing systems they use. They’re not just trying to compromise the ESPs, but they’re also attempting to compromise customers and access their accounts so that the spammer can steal the ESPs hard won and hard fought sending reputation.

Everyone sending mail should be taking a long, hard look at their security. Just because you’re not an ESP doesn’t mean you aren’t a target or that you can get away with lax security. You are also a target.

1 comment

  1. John Levine says

    Well, the spam does have a funky URL that points to China which is a bit implausible for a clothing retailer that operates only in North America.

    This reinforces my point that ESPs have a lot of valuable data, and they need to treat it that way, which includes looking for customer fraud. It’s the same reason that my bank calls me on the phone to verify unusual transactions.

Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • OTA joins the ISOC

    The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) announced today they were joining forces with the Internet Society (ISOC). Starting in May, they will operate as an initiative under the ISOC umbrella. “The Internet Society and OTA share the belief that trust is the key issue in defining the future value of the Internet,” said Internet Society President and CEO, Kathryn Brown. “Now is the right time for these two organizations to come together to help build user trust in the Internet. At a time when cyber-attacks and identity theft are on the rise, this partnership will help improve security and data privacy for users,” added Brown.No Comments


  • Friday blogging... or lack of it

    It seems the last few Friday's I've been lax on posting. Some of that is just by Friday I'm frantically trying to complete all my client deliverables before the weekend. The rest of it is by Friday I'm just tired. Today had the added complication of watching the Trumpcare debate and following how (and how soon) it would affect my company if it passed. That's been a bit distracting, along with the other stuff I posted about yesterday. I wish everyone a great weekend.1 Comment


  • Indictments in Yahoo data breach

    Today the US government unsealed an indictment against 2 Russian agents and 2 hackers for breaking into Yahoo's servers and stealing personal information. The information gathered during the hack was used to target government officials, security employees and private individuals. Email is so central to our online identity. Compromise an email account and you can get access to social media, and other accounts. Email is the key to the kingdom.No Comments


Archives