Coders & Software Developers May Soon Face the Heat for Phishing Attacks

Ransomware, malware and other virus creators, have been on the rise. Together with state-sponsored cyber criminals, they have increasingly shown a high level of focus towards large companies and business, especially in the tech industry. Quite recently, these insistent threat groups have been getting highly selective about their targets instead of deploying massive-scale attacks. It appears software developer India agencies, coders, and other senior-level employees in the technology industry are now prime targets for hackers conducting cyber-attacks.

Recently there have been reports on how state-sponsored hacking groups are getting deployed to conduct cyber espionage. They are doing it on large foreign companies and conducting cyber-attacks on the gaming industry. Their tactics involved penetrating the development end of the game creation process.

They then use illegitimately acquired licenses and certificates to conduct further attacks. Following the same methodology, these cyber criminals appear to be going after software developers and code writers.

They are gaining access to accounts, logins, and other credentials that grant them privileged access. Therefore, hackers can execute multiple attacks and conduct cyber espionage, as well.

Software Developers Being Persistently Pursued

The industries that remain in the crosshairs of cybercriminals have gotten revealed. The reveal is by the just-released August 2019 Threat Intelligence Bulletin by cybersecurity company Glasswall. The report primarily focuses on phishing attacks. It also indicates that the technology industry continues to remain the most attacked segment. About half of all the malicious phishing campaigns get targeted at the tech industry. This information is according to the report.

In most cases, cybercriminals targeting the tech industry want the intellectual property and other business-sensitive data. The criminals either intend to hand over the data to their handlers or sell it for a profit on the Dark Web. There have been instances of large stacks of financially rewarding information that has got put for illegal auctions. State-sponsored persistent threat groups attempt to steal data. The data can help their countries build cheaper or knock-off versions of products that foreign companies have painstakingly developed through a lot of research and development.

It concerns to note that custom software developer agents and other core members of the development team appear to be on the high-priority list of hackers. Multiple phishing attacks that rely on social engineering are deployed to lure developers. Once their identity and credentials are illegally acquired, cybercriminals then attempt to penetrate the network and gain access to sensitive information.

How Software Developers and Coders Get Attacked in the Tech World

Software developers in the tech industry are some of the most valuable assets. More importantly, they often have access to administrator privileges across various systems. Moreover, as they are involved in the core development of the software product, software developers need to move around the tech company’s internal cyberspace without being restricted. Additionally, attackers who manage to gain access to login credentials of these developers too can move laterally around networks. They can then gain access to their end goal. Lewis Henderson, VP at Glasswall noted that an attacker could land on an administrator machine. They can then have privileged access, and that’s what the attackers are after. Software developers do have that privileged access to IP, and that makes them attractive.

It might seem odd that software engineers would fall prey to phishing attacks. It is because they are at the heart of the tech world. They could, therefore, get assumed to be quite familiar at such attempts. However, that’s where cybercriminals are getting creative and specific. They are no longer deploying a large-scale attack that could be stopped by antivirus software.

These criminals send out carefully crafted emails and implement other methods that have been painstakingly created to avoid suspicion. Henderson observed that the bad guys aren’t doing big global campaigns. Instead, they are doing a lot of research. And when an attack analysis in the process gets looked into, a lot of the starting points are intelligence gathering.

Cybercriminals targeting software developers are increasingly visiting the profiles these individuals create on professional social networking sites like LinkedIn. After that, these hackers pretend to be recruiters and send out specially-crafted messages to target one individual in the organisation they want to gain access.

Attackers conduct background checks to determine the skillset of their targets. Put, the attackers routinely exploit the information about specific skills and interests of their would-be victim and create a highly customised phishing email and other communication. Henderson noted that it could be a PDF job offer. It could be saying they know you are in the industry and these are your skills because they’ve looked you up on LinkedIn. They are always trying to entice people through social engineering and phishing in a pretty deadly combination.

The targeted victim has to open the tainted PDF file loaded with malicious code. There have been several such successful infiltrations caused by opening such emails and files. Application development administrators are continually trying to hire software developer. The aim is that they educate employees about the safety protocols of opening such suspicious files and submitting the same for analysis.

Final thought

When you are just starting as a programmer, everything from the code you are supposed to write to communicate with colleagues can seem overwhelming. However, there is a reasonable explanation for the way you feel. The challenges you face are not insuperable. Take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one facing challenges. Instead, your colleagues have encountered these problems at some point.

Your first job as a dedicated software developer or programmer starts exciting. But after a few weeks, the downsides of the job start getting to you. You begin facing deadlines, bug reports, being yelled at by your manager, among other challenges. However, all is not lost. There is good news in that everyone makes mistakes. Others who started just like you have previously made similar errors you are making. Other new programmers took those problems in stride by looking for solutions and came out better at the end. You can also do the same.

I, Kuldeep Kundal, the CMO of Cyber Infrastructure (P) Limited, and is the trademark of the CIS. I have been publishing technology content for the last ten years. Being inquisitive towards technology and management strategies has impressed upon me the mantra of success is to gain knowledge to share it.