The FBI confirmed that their email server was hacked on Friday, November 12. There were over 100,000 spam emails deployed from their server warning companies that they were under a cyberattack.
NOYNIM was one of the recipients. An email came in after 11pm on Friday and caught our CEO’s attention. Usually, our email security system is proficient in not letting phishing emails through to our inboxes.
Our CEO was concerned. He quickly fired up his laptop to understand if this email was legitimate. He began by looking at the headers. Everything seemed to add up. He thought that we were really under attack.
In an unprecedented move, he decided to err on the side of caution and shut down NOYNIM’s major systems. He continued to research the situation but there was nothing on the internet indicating this might be a scam.
After about one hour, NOYNIM was notified of other people receiving this email as well. At that point, we determined this was a phishing email and turned our systems back on. After the initial shock, our team re-read the email and saw some issues:
- Bad grammar (i.e trough multiple.., whom is believed, etc)
- The FBI doesn’t send directed emails
This incident proves that having the best security systems in place and considering all of the technical details (i.e. SPF records) are only a piece of your overall security posture. If the source server is compromised then you need to be able to decipher a scam from a legitimate email.
Even we IT people sometimes almost fall for these phishing campaigns. The best line of defense against a cyberattack is knowledge. We encourage you to read our post How to Identify a Phishing Scam for basic information on how to determine if an email is legitimate.
It is important to stay calm in these events and have a trusted IT partner to guide you through action steps. NOYNIM is here to help. Make sure to be vigilant and always have a professional you can call/contact. Our team is available to our clients 24/7.
Questions? Contact Us