Your employees are at the frontline of your company’s defense. We know hackers are going after high profile targets, like your VIPs. Likely you’ve thought about protecting your company’s top executives and public facing figures. But what about your Most Vulnerable People, your MVPs?
MVPs are typically further down the corporate ladder. Despite not being high profile, these employees are at risk because of their privileged access to data as part of their job functions. Their access may include personally identifiable information (PII), platform access, IP, and other proprietary research.
Common MVPs include:
- HR managers - access to employee hiring information, including resumes and PII
- IT managers - access to company data systems that may contain proprietary research, customer data, or internal user credentials
- Marketing managers - access to social media profile user credentials & public facing content
- Administrative assistants - access to VIP schedules and/or user credentials
Why your MVPs are at risk
MVPs have the appropriate level of access to data required to do their jobs. This is what makes them so enticing to hackers. Compromising an employee with access to your company’s proprietary research is just as valuable as attacking a high-profile executive, and probably easier to execute. In fact, hackers identify your company’s MVPs the same way they research how to target your high-profile employees.
How MVPs are targeted
People share personal details and employment information on social media platforms, like LinkedIn. Hackers can easily discover who the mid-level employees are at their target companies and create a list of profiles. From there, they can gather intelligence from publicly available information on Facebook to create targeted phishing attacks and dupe employees. One file download on the company network from a “trusted” friend can result in serious damage. We have seen many examples of these attacks at work.
For example, an Iranian hacker group was able to successfully compromise a global consulting firm with this exact approach. “Mia Ash” gained the trust of male mid-level employees with a fake profile on Facebook. “Mia” flirted with employees before moving the conversation to LinkedIn, and asking employees for feedback on her resume, a file with PupyRAT malware that tunneled into the organization, resulting in a breach estimated to cost $38M.
More recently, in 2018, Operation Sharpshooter targeted mid-level employees with hiring ads on LinkedIn. Again, after trust was gained, employees opened malware that allowed for the exfiltration of critical data assets.
In both cases, these mid-level employees were not malicious insiders looking to exfiltrate data. They were unsuspecting employees, unaware of how their actions would compromise their firm.
What this means for your business
MVPs often don’t get as much attention as your VIPs, which means they are unprepared and potentially unsure of what to lookout for. However, an attack on an MVP is just as detrimental to your business as an attack on your VIPs. That’s why it is critical to gain visibility into your entire attack surface & educate your employees. Get proactive about your cybersecurity solution by protecting your MVPs.
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