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Cybersecurity Technology Media and Telecom

The Anatomy of a Cyberattack: Step-by-Step

This article looks at each stage of a cyberattack, by way of a fictitious attack that took over a real estate agent’s email account.

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Consider this scenario: You’re a law firm accountant. Early one morning while reviewing emails, you see a message from the firm’s real estate agent stating that the landlord has agreed to your latest counteroffer and is ready to move forward on the rental of your new office space. You continue discussions to finalize the deal, work on signing the paperwork and are ready to send over your deposit. A new email from the agent at the last-minute mentions changing banks and encloses updated wiring instructions. The email has a sense of urgency to send the information quickly or the deal may fall through. Looking at the email, it appears legitimate, and you’ve done two other deals with this agent in the past, so you feel comfortable with the request. You reply to the message confirming the change, the response says to move forward. And all appears well.

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