Day: November 27, 2019

The Future (And History) of Phishing And Email Security

Not that long ago, the only way to communicate with someone across the office was to get up and walk over. Then, it became calling one’s phones with individual extensions being widely used. Eventually, those phone lines were used to link computers together and someone got the idea that you could send messages to a specific person in a network. That was when email was born.

Because computer networks were so small and used by few people, email was not built with security in mind. The thought that one day there would be more than 4.3 billion email addresses worldwide never occurred to anyone. This oversight first led to spam and then email phishing.

How can understanding the evolution of email help us to understand how to fight back against phishing and scam?

The History of Email

future of phishing and spam

MIT developed Compatible Time Sharing in the mid-1960s. It allowed users to log in to a terminal and access files from a shared server remotely. ARPANET joined together a series of networks to create the first intranet, the predecessor to the internet.

The @ symbol was introduced to send messages to a specific user, the predecessor to modern-day email. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth became the first Head of State to send an email.

It wasn’t until 1977 that the standard email format we know today – with fields for ‘To’ and ‘From’, as well as the ability to forward emails, was developed.

The Birth of Spam

Just a year after email was developed, Gary Thuerk got the idea to send a mass message to everyone in the ARPANET network – all 397 of them. The mass email was about a presentation at a hotel.

The move was so wildly unpopular that no one would try to send such an email again for over a decade.

Mass emails only became a method of attack in 1988. It was the time when online gamers sent massive amounts of email to rival players in order to crash their systems and render them unable to play the game.

It was in 1993 that unwanted emails were called ‘spam’. It’s a name that was chosen as an homage to the Monty Python skit about a character’s dislike of the canned meat of the same name.

The second attempt at mass marketing spam emails took place in 1994.

From Spam To Scam

By the 1990s, scammers had found a way to capitalize on all those unwanted emails landing in inboxes. Sending their own mass emails that contained malicious links or phishing attempts blended right in.

They would pose as system administrators and pretend that there was a problem with a person’s account. They would try to gain access to their login credentials and then send more dangerous emails to the people in that account’s contact list.

In 1996, the term ‘phishing’ was coined. It was after a series of attacks on an AOL message board involving someone asking if anyone knew ways to gain access to the internet for free.

Email attacks became more frequent and more damaging. The ILOVEYOU virus infected 45 million PCs after unsuspecting users opened emails and unknowingly downloaded and forwarded computer worms. Later, the Sircam virus infected one in 20 PCs, causing them to lose critical operating system files.

By 2002, both the U.S. and the E.U. had passed laws prohibiting people from sending marketing emails unless the recipient had previously expressed consent to receive them. Unfortunately, these laws have proven to be largely ineffective.

Modern Email Challenges Need Modern Solutions

the future of phishing and spam

Because the way we use email has changed so much, securing communications now requires newer and more advanced tactics. There’s yet another form of phishing to contend with these days. It’s called smishing in which phishing messages are sent through spam text messages.

With each new attack comes new security challenges.

Now that email is mostly in the cloud, that means security needs to be there as well. Today, more than a quarter of those online have been affected by data stolen from the cloud and there are more than 4.7 billion phishing emails sent every day. Cloud-based activities require a new level of security.

See Also: The Cost of Email Phishing

Learn more about the history and future of phishing and spam below.

 

The History and Future of Phishing [infographic]
Courtesy of Avanan

The post The Future (And History) of Phishing And Email Security appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Future (And History) of Phishing And Email Security

Not that long ago, the only way to communicate with someone across the office was to get up and walk over. Then, it became calling one’s phones with individual extensions being widely used. Eventually, those phone lines were used to link computers together and someone got the idea that you could send messages to a specific person in a network. That was when email was born.

Because computer networks were so small and used by few people, email was not built with security in mind. The thought that one day there would be more than 4.3 billion email addresses worldwide never occurred to anyone. This oversight first led to spam and then email phishing.

How can understanding the evolution of email help us to understand how to fight back against phishing and scam?

The History of Email

future of phishing and spam

MIT developed Compatible Time Sharing in the mid-1960s. It allowed users to log in to a terminal and access files from a shared server remotely. ARPANET joined together a series of networks to create the first intranet, the predecessor to the internet.

The @ symbol was introduced to send messages to a specific user, the predecessor to modern-day email. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth became the first Head of State to send an email.

It wasn’t until 1977 that the standard email format we know today – with fields for ‘To’ and ‘From’, as well as the ability to forward emails, was developed.

The Birth of Spam

Just a year after email was developed, Gary Thuerk got the idea to send a mass message to everyone in the ARPANET network – all 397 of them. The mass email was about a presentation at a hotel.

The move was so wildly unpopular that no one would try to send such an email again for over a decade.

Mass emails only became a method of attack in 1988. It was the time when online gamers sent massive amounts of email to rival players in order to crash their systems and render them unable to play the game.

It was in 1993 that unwanted emails were called ‘spam’. It’s a name that was chosen as an homage to the Monty Python skit about a character’s dislike of the canned meat of the same name.

The second attempt at mass marketing spam emails took place in 1994.

From Spam To Scam

By the 1990s, scammers had found a way to capitalize on all those unwanted emails landing in inboxes. Sending their own mass emails that contained malicious links or phishing attempts blended right in.

They would pose as system administrators and pretend that there was a problem with a person’s account. They would try to gain access to their login credentials and then send more dangerous emails to the people in that account’s contact list.

In 1996, the term ‘phishing’ was coined. It was after a series of attacks on an AOL message board involving someone asking if anyone knew ways to gain access to the internet for free.

Email attacks became more frequent and more damaging. The ILOVEYOU virus infected 45 million PCs after unsuspecting users opened emails and unknowingly downloaded and forwarded computer worms. Later, the Sircam virus infected one in 20 PCs, causing them to lose critical operating system files.

By 2002, both the U.S. and the E.U. had passed laws prohibiting people from sending marketing emails unless the recipient had previously expressed consent to receive them. Unfortunately, these laws have proven to be largely ineffective.

Modern Email Challenges Need Modern Solutions

the future of phishing and spam

Because the way we use email has changed so much, securing communications now requires newer and more advanced tactics. There’s yet another form of phishing to contend with these days. It’s called smishing in which phishing messages are sent through spam text messages.

With each new attack comes new security challenges.

Now that email is mostly in the cloud, that means security needs to be there as well. Today, more than a quarter of those online have been affected by data stolen from the cloud and there are more than 4.7 billion phishing emails sent every day. Cloud-based activities require a new level of security.

See Also: The Cost of Email Phishing

Learn more about the history and future of phishing and spam below.

 

The History and Future of Phishing [infographic]
Courtesy of Avanan

The post The Future (And History) of Phishing And Email Security appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

This debut venture firm, backed by an Argentine conglomerate, is investing $60 million in far-flung U.S. startups

Nico Berardi considers himself to be a citizen of the world, with a penchant for travel and a wide range of interests. Unlike many other VCs, who’ve increasingly specialized as the market has grown more crowded, Berardi is nearly as wide-ranging in his approach to venture capital, too.

Somewhat counterintuitively, it’s paying off. At least, Berardi’s venture firm, Animo Ventures, has been investing a $60 million debut vehicle since closing it in July of last year.

It’s an impressive, surprising, amount for someone raising a fund for the first time, but then, Berardi’s trajectory into the world of venture capital hasn’t been completely straightforward, either. To wit, Berardi grew up in Argentina, where his professional life began at a community-focused nonprofit Techo, a kind of Habitat for Humanity focused on Latin America. He was so good at his development job, in fact, that he was moved to Miami as the CEO of Techo’s U.S operations.

It was there, over his six year career with the organization, that he was first introduced to the world of investing. Specifically, encouraged by several board members who were angel investors — and aided by some backing from the Knight Foundation — Berardi left the nonprofit world in 2014 to launch a still-active angel investor group called Miami Angels that funnels around $3.5 million into roughly 10 local companies each year.

In quick succession, he then applied to and was accepted into the tuition-based Kauffman Fellows Program, fell in love with a medical student in Boston, and headed to Harvard Business School to be closer to her, spending his summers with the Boston and San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm Resolute Ventures.

He imagined he’d land in San Francisco afterward, to work with Resolute. But when that medical student — now his wife — wound up landing a job back in Miami, he headed there instead and decided to launch his own venture firm. Enter Animo, a Latin word that means with intention or purpose and also, notes Bernardi, “sounds international.”

The latter matters because while Berardi is the sole general partner of the firm, he’s running it with two colleagues, neither of whom lives in the U.S. One of these is partner Antonio Osio, a native Mexican who was running his own firm, Capital Invent, when he first met Berardi through Kauffman Fellows. (“I poached him,” says Berardi.) They also have an operations partner in Caro Acevedo, who worked with Berardi as his COO at Techo and who still lives in Argentina.

As for the money, Berardi says it “mostly comes from Latin America and Europe,” including from anchor investor Techint. It’s a 60,000-person Argentine conglomerate that owns steel, construction, oil, gas, and healthcare businesses around the world and whose CEO, Paulo Rocco, sees Animo as a way to put the company’s resources into new materials sciences, manufacturing technology, and machine learning startups, says Berardi.

“We want to make a dent in the universe, and there aren’t a lot of Latinx investors around and we want to carry that flag,” he offers.

To date, Animo has announced 12 deals, all in the U.S., including six investments in New York and six others in other places, including Scottsdale, Az.; Toronto, Ontario; Miami; and Richmond, Va.

Notably, Animo does not have plans to invest in Latin American companies, though it has backed a number of Latin American founders in the U.S. “I think every investor has their own set of biases,” says Berardi. “Our diversity numbers point in that way, but it hasn’t been a conscious effort. That’s just who we are.” He suggests that a much bigger focus for the firm is using its connections in “tier one ecosystems” like San Francisco and New York to “help [founders] outside the bubble enter it.”

Berardi does say there are a few things Animo won’t consider. “We stay away from FDA-regulated stuff because we don’t understand it well enough and therefore can’t be useful.” Mostly, however, he’s open to anyone and everyone who appreciates hard work, he suggests. “We’re younger, we’re hungry. We work 100-hour weeks and travel like crazy people.”

To underscore his point, Berardi tells a story about Intello, a SaaS operations platform that helps companies manage their SaaS spend, usage and compliance data and an Animo portfolio company. The startup had rented a booth at a conference organized by Okta, the publicly traded identity and access management company. “They didn’t have enough people to man the booth,” says Berardi, “and I was in town, so I was like, ‘I’ll man the booth with you in a cloud suit.’ They thought I was joking and I made an idiot of myself, but it drew a lot of people to the booth.”

Pictured above from left to right, Animo founders Nico Berardi, Caro Acevedo, and Antonio Osio.