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                Beating Nigerian Social Engineers at Their Own Game

                Offense-in-depth means causing damage to criminal operations

                Nigerian phishing emails have become a joke.

                But while there has long been a high volume of low-level Nigerian phishing scams that target indiscriminately, there are also many sophisticated threat actors operating in Nigeria. These actors target executives and businesses in spear phishing campaigns that use an external email account to spoof communications from legitimate sources, or hijack an official account to intercept payments and transactions. Far from being a laughing matter, these methods have inflicted billions of dollars of damage on businesses worldwide.

                So it’s especially satisfying to beat these actors at their own game. In this case study, Secureworks® Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers spot a spear phishing email from a Nigerian threat actor targeting a large U.S business. CTU researchers started a conversation with the threat actor, playing the role of willing victim. By employing advanced social engineering techniques back at the threat actor, CTU researchers obtained a frankly surprising amount of personal information about the adversary, including a number of bank accounts, as well as Facebook and WhatsApp handles. As it turns out, even the social engineers can be duped by their own tricks.

                Secureworks calls this tactic offense-in-depth. The primary goal is to uncover personal information about the criminal and cause as much damage to their operation as possible. This means foregoing simple takedowns of infrastructure which can be quickly replaced, in favor of longer-lasting, and more damaging measures.

                We generate around 2 billion events each month. With Secureworks, we are able to crunch down that number to 20-30 high fidelity alerts — and that makes my team's job much easier.
                Sunil Saale, Head of Cyber and Information Security, Minter Ellison
                Red Cloak™ Threat Detection and Response isn’t just the next generation of SIEM, it’s an evolution.
                David Levine, CISO, Ricoh Group

                Why Secureworks®?

                The old approaches to cybersecurity are no longer adequate. It’s time for something new. Layered defenses can create almost as many problems as they solve, and security teams struggle to keep up with the threat. What you need is context across all your layers of defense with the right people, processes, and technology working together in concert. That’s how Secureworks can help. Using 20+ years of industry knowledge, advanced analytics, industry-leading threat intelligence, and the network effect of more than 4,000 customer environments, we provide world-class cybersecurity solutions to customers around the globe. This unmatched experience empowers our customers to be Collectively Smarter. Exponentially Safer.™

                Our Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution is comprehensive, powered by our cloud-native software Red Cloak™ Threat Detection and Response that uses AI and machine learning to deliver better outcomes for your security operations. MDR unifies telemetry from your existing security technology to maximize visibility, reduce complexity, and enable you to move at the speed of the threat. Learn more about how Managed Detection and Response uses contextualized visibility to improve your organization’s security posture.

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