Are you a phish in barrel?

Are you a phish in barrel?

It doesn’t matter how much money you have spent on security, there is a very high probability that your security perimeter can be penetrated. Unfortunately, this is a reality we have learned to live with… but we don’t have to.

It all started with the CWRT research team spoofing emails from certain very high-level politicians, CEOs, and other famous people. We only spoofed each other for educational reasons…Evil thoughts ranged from starting the next “me too” movement to exfiltrating secrets by impersonating someone’s boss and requesting they save the data to USB, save to a Dropbox, or open an infected file. It was soon apparent that we could manipulate nearly any situation with a strategically spoofed email. When done correctly it’s nearly impossible, even for the best-trained user, to distinguish real from forged emails.

Want your own proof that spoofing will work on your company? We thought you might, so we made this tool, enter your corporate email and press the button and see what spoofs will work and how to fix them.

Check it for yourself.

Did you get any of the 5 test emails the page sent? Did any of them end up in spam?

If they made it into spam or into your inbox, you could easily be spoofed. This means an attacker can email any number of tricks into your user-base and be successful. The email security checks should prevent the email server connection, and the email will not be accepted by your mail servers… -not even into spam.

How big of an issue is this?

To many, email is a boring security conversation. Those of us in security understand clearly that email can be easily faked. We may not realize that the rest of the world is going about daily operations with reasonably critical business processes happening via email communication. We trust that communications from our co-workers, bosses, and partners are all subject to email manipulation.

We were able to impersonate highly classified email addresses where we should not have been able to.

How big of an issue is this?

General attacks
Commercial Federal
Email 95% 90%
Web 4% 1%
Other 1% 9%
Direct Attacks
Email 90% 70%
Web 7% 1%
Other 3% 29%

*stats are estimates from real-world threat intelligence by ADi Cyber Warfare Research Team (CWRT)

Wouldn’t it make sense to close the email threat gap?

We have all seen the recent uptick of phish-me type products to train your users.

Training is an excellent idea and really works in the security world. Treating people well and having a great culture is also useful.

There are email security controls that all modern email systems support, just ask DHS BOD 18-01 that mandates these controls as of last year. Below is a snippet from BOD 18-01:

“Federal agency “cyber hygiene” greatly impacts user security. By implementing specific security standards that have been widely adopted in industry, federal agencies can ensure the integrity and confidentiality of internet-delivered data, minimize spam, and better protect users who might otherwise fall victim to a phishing email that appears to come from a government-owned system.”

…way overdue if you ask me.

In 2006-2014 SPF was slowly rolled out as an industry recommended technology but many have not implemented the basics of protection as of 2018. We are finding in many cases we are able to spoof even when checks are enabled. Very few have all of the email security checks and completely pass our simple tests on

The fix:

  • SPF
  • DKIM
  • Authentication
  • Reverse DNS

With all tech there are challenges, and each of the above solutions has its own. It can be very complicated to implement each one if you aren’t experienced. We tested many firms with all of those protections at least partially enabled, only to find out the protections didn’t work at all. That’s why we created

Hopefully, you passed the email spoof test, if not, you have some work to do.

Happy Hunting,



Cybersecurity is an unwinnable war

Cybersecurity is an unwinnable war

You can’t actually WIN.

You can SUCCEED though.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to fight it anyway. Like many things in a safety and security realm, the threat is ever changing, and your strategy must flex with it. You have to manage the threat and fend attackers off while serving your customers and enabling your employees to do work.

AND you even have to let your employees do the work in the way they want to.

Top-down authoritarian restrictions don’t really work in the long run.

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” – Princess Leia

Security only works if EVERYONE on board participates and WANTS to be part of the culture that puts it near the top of the list.

Treat your employees and customers like robots, and they WILL find somewhere else to go. They WILL leak data through the cracks. They WILL leave the side door unlocked.

If your culture is a stance of defense and diligence, one of self-awareness and reliance and constant learning and improvement, then this should include your security posture as well.

The war is not winnable, but that doesn’t have to keep you from succeeding.

Need help? Contact us.

Death of a thousand cuts for your security posture

Death of a thousand cuts for your security posture

The make-up of a great security posture comes from having your “ducks in a row”… meaning you have the three Threat Management Vectors working effectively. These Threat Management Vectors are Detection, Prevention, and Response.

Yup, that’s right, all that jargon and spin to sell security products muddies the waters of what you should be doing to manage threats. These security products don’t take away any responsibility from your company, and these products are not sufficient without proper configuration. Even the best product can do very little without on-going tailoring to your business. Care and feeding of these security products by trained people will keep your CIO/ CSO out of negligent waters (jail) and your corporate brand safe and secure (without fines)

ADi helps hundreds of customers every year get security products off the ground while training the company’s engineers on how to use these products effectively and ensure these products are tuned well for Detection, Prevention, and Response.

However, ADi does regular health-checks and frequent security reviews. You might be asking, “If you are so good at training the company’s Engineers how to care for the security products, why would you need a heath-check or a security review?”

The answer to this question is at the heart of IT operations,… The HELPDESK or helpless desk as I often hear it referred. Most of us IT’ers have done our time at the helpdesk, and maybe some of you are there right now (don’t worry it’s not forever!).  Don’t get me wrong, in some companies you have a few rising rockstars but they quickly jump the ranks or go work somewhere else for more money (truth) The helpdesk usually ends up as an operational ticket “triage” that merely forwards the tickets to the right Engineers to solve the problem.

“Eventually the hole is so deep you are just shoveling dirt in your own face.”

As the Engineers become bogged down solving help desk requests or adjusting security policies to accommodate the office Halloween party, an endless cycle starts. The Engineer becomes consumed by helpdesk tasks while security tuning and threat hunting and response go by the wayside to accommodate business workflow tasks. This causes more helpdesk tickets. Before you know it, your environment needs a little housekeeping!

For security’s sake, get yourself a housekeeper! That is a reliable partner/ reseller, who is going to add value to your team and not just sell you stuff.

Keep your ducks in a row!