Netizen Cybersecurity Bulletin (July 29th, 2022)


  • Phish Tale of the Week
  • T-Mobile Agrees to $500 million in 2021 Data Breach Settlement
  • Idaho Universities helping fill Cyber Workforce Gap
  • How can Netizen help?

Phish Tale of the Week

Phishing attempts can often target specific groups that can be exploited by malicious actors. In this instance, we see a phishing scam targeting unsuspecting debt holders. This email appears to be a notification alerting us that Louis Vuitton is offering a 90% off Limited-Time Offer. We are then prompted to “shop now” and follow the link below to the store. This email contains a note about with an enticing offer for discounted luxury merchandise, so why not click here? Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons not to click that email right away.

Take a look below:

  1. The first red flag on this email is the sender’s address. Always thoroughly inspect the sender’s address to ensure it’s from a trusted sender. In the future, review the sender’s address thoroughly to see if the email could be coming from a threat actor.
  2. The second warning sign in this email is the “Limited-Time Offer” notice below the main message. Phishing scams commonly use words like this to elicit a quick response from their targets. Always be sure to thoroughly inspect the messaging of all emails in your inbox.
  3. The final warning sign for this email is the large red “Shop Now” call to action. Threat actors use call-to-action buttons like this to immediately redirect targets to malicious landing pages. These landing pages then infect the target’s system with malware or other software with the intention of stealing information or further extortion.

General Recommendations:

A phishing email will typically direct the user to click on a link where they will then be prompted to update personal information, such as a password, credit card, social security, or bank account information. A legitimate company already has this sensitive information and would not ask for it again, especially via email. 

  • Scrutinize your emails before clicking anything. Have you ordered anything recently? Does this order number match the one I already have? Did the email come from a store you don’t usually order supplies from or a service you don’t use? If so, it’s probably a phishing attempt.
  • Verify that the sender is actually from the company sending the message.
  • Did you receive a message or email from someone you don’t recognize? Are they asking you to sign into a website to give Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as credit card numbers, social security number, etc. A legitimate company will never ask for PII via instant message or email.
  • Do not give out personal or company information over the internet.
  • Do not click on unrecognized links or attachments. If you do proceed, verify that the URL is the correct one for the company/service and it has the proper security in place, such as HTTPS.

Many phishing emails pose a sense of urgency or even aggressiveness to prompt a form of intimidation. Any email requesting immediate action should be vetted thoroughly to determine whether or not it is a scam. Also, beware of messages that seek to tempt users into opening an attachment or visiting a link. For example, an attachment titled “Fix your account now” may draw the question “What is wrong with my account?” and prompt you to click a suspicious link.

Cybersecurity Brief

In this week’s Cybersecurity Brief:

T-Mobile Agrees to $500 million in 2021 Data Breach Settlement


Almost a year ago, telecommunications giant T-Mobile suffered another data breach. The company, which is no stranger to sub-par data security parameters and cybersecurity incidents, admitted to a data breach in August last year that saw PPI of over 76 million U.S residents scattered across the Dark Web. In this breach, hackers were able to retrieve the names, social security numbers, drives licenses numbers, physical addresses, and more from each of the affected individuals. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, this breach will end up costing them a lot more than just the reputation damage.

On Monday, reports began circulating that T-Mobile had reached a settlement agreement for the 2021 data breach. In fillings submitted to a federal district court in Missouri, T-Mobile has agreed to pay out $350 million to class action lawsuit claims stemming from the breach last year. T-Mobile has also agreed to invest over $150 million in the next two years to increase its data security practices and upgrade related technology.

If approved by the court, this settlement will resolve virtually all the claims brought against the mobile carrier by former, current, and prospective customers after the August 2021 data breach. This settlement will also safeguard T-Mobile from admitting any guilt or wrongdoing in this matter, with this civil agreement expected to be the last formal mention of last year’s cybersecurity incident.

Overall, information security experts worldwide are eager to see if any of the proposed $150 million investment in data security will materialize into actual defense upgrades. T-Mobile has a history of making grandiose claims following incidents similar to this, with four separate significant cybersecurity intrusions occurring at the organization in the four years.

To read more about this article, click here.

Idaho Universities helping fill Cyber Workforce Gap

Ransomware attacks and cybersecurity incidents have surged all across the country. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being targeted at unprecedented rates. Before, larger, enterprise-grade companies were the main focus of threat actors, but the rise of ransomware attacks has brought smaller organizations into the mayhem. This increase in attacks has shown that every organization needs a plan to secure its information and bolster its cyber defenses. However, investing in outside information security firms or creating an in-house cybersecurity position can be costly for many businesses.

The problem mentioned above is where the Boise State University’s Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity comes to the rescue. Students inside this program are paired with rural businesses and municipalities in Idaho and gain real-world experience on the frontlines of cybersecurity. Marlin Roberts, who manages the program, believes, “The days of being safe simply because you were small and unimportant are gone. The cybercriminals are interested in just about anything. The advent of ransomware has made it lucrative to go ahead and steal data to basically extort money from these entities.”

Luckily for businesses in Idaho, students at the Institute for Pervasive Cybersecurity have come to the rescue at the perfect moment. A CyberSeek report showcased that there are over 5,000 cybersecurity job openings in the state of Idaho, with over 3,500 of them in the Boise metro area. Companies that haven’t been able to fill these roles or that don’t have the funding for these positions can seek outside help through Boise State University’s program. This opportunity has been further expanded through additional funding via the Idaho Workforce Development Council. Earlier this month, Boise State University was awarded an $806,000 grant to double the number of students training in their CyberDome defense program.

Executive Director of the Council, Wendi Secrist, added, “One of the things the council is really interested in and focused on is, ‘How do we better integrate work-based learning into all forms of education?” This additional funding will further expand the program to assist more small businesses throughout Idaho and grant valuable experience to the students tasked with protecting these companies. Employers have repeatedly echoed that cybersecurity job seekers need real-world expertise when applying for positions. Certificates and grades are outstanding on a resume, but few IT managers and CISOs feel comfortable handing over the keys to their IT infrastructure to someone without practical experience.

Marlin Roberts believes that the additional funding to Boise State University’s program will expand the roles and responsibilities students in the CyberDome are able to learn. “It’s a winning combination,” said Roberts.

For more information, check out the rest of the article here.

How Can Netizen Help?

Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time. 

We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type. 

Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.

Netizen is a CMMI V2.0 Level 3, ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management) certified company. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring and retention of military veterans. 

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