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Exploring the Reddit Case-Effective Mitigation Tips and More

Published on Jun 26 2023

What happened

Reddit recently fell victim to a phishing attack, with the ransomware group BlackCat (also known as ALPHV) claiming responsibility. They demanded a $4.5 million ransom and threatened to release the compromised data, however, adversaries are also urging for the reversal of the contentious API modifications made by Reddit. 

The Scope and How It Happened: 

BlackCat executed a sophisticated phishing attack by using deceptive prompts to trick Reddit employees into visiting a website that mimicked the platform's intranet gateway. Through this method, the hackers successfully stole login credentials and second-factor tokens from one employee. However, Reddit assured users that their personal information remained uncompromised. 

What the CTO is saying (Christopher Slowe):

The CTO stated that they are actively investigating the situation, closely monitoring it, and collaborating with employees to strengthen their security skills. They emphasized that humans are often the weakest link in the security chain.  

What We Have Noticed (+/-):  

  1. Soon after being phished, the affected employee self-reported, and the Security team responded quickly, removing the infiltrator’s access, and commencing an internal investigation and which is more notable attempt was self-reported, which confirms that employee was cyberaware and trained.
  2. The company's preparedness with an incident response plan helped minimize the attack's scope and expedite the containment process.
  3. The security team acted swiftly by revoking the infiltrator's access and initiating an internal investigation.
  4. Reddit proactively raised user awareness by recommending the use of two-factor authentication and password managers.
  5. Transparent and fair communication between the company and users was observed as a key factor


How to avoid:  

  1. Employee Training: Conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training sessions for all employees, emphasizing the importance of identifying and avoiding phishing attempts. Educate them about common phishing techniques, such as deceptive emails, websites, and social engineering tactics. 
  2. Phishing Simulations: Use phishing simulation tools like GoPhish, KnowBe4, or PhishMe to create realistic phishing scenarios and test employees' ability to identify and report phishing attempts. These tools can provide insights into areas where additional training is needed. 
  3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable and encourage the use of multi-factor authentication across all accounts and services. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password. 
  4. Anti-Phishing Tools and Extensions: Implement anti-phishing tools and browser extensions that can detect, and block known phishing websites. Examples include Netcraft, Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, and Google Safe Browsing. These tools can help prevent employees from accessing malicious websites. 
  5. Email Filtering and SPAM Protection: Utilize robust email filtering and SPAM protection solutions to block suspicious emails and reduce the chances of phishing emails reaching employees' inboxes. These solutions can automatically detect and quarantine phishing attempts. 
  6. Security Incident Response Plan: Develop and maintain a comprehensive security incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a phishing attack or any other security incident. Ensure that the plan is regularly tested and updated to address emerging threats. 

Endpoint Security: 

When it comes to endpoint security solutions for phishing, there are several tools and technologies available that can help detect and prevent phishing attacks. Here are some commonly used endpoints security solutions: 

  1. Anti-Malware/Antivirus Software: Deploy robust anti-malware or antivirus solutions on endpoints to detect and block known phishing threats. These solutions can scan incoming emails, attachments, and files for malicious content and provide real-time protection against phishing attempts. 
  2. Email Security Gateways: Implement email security gateways that analyze incoming emails for phishing indicators, malicious links, and attachments. These gateways can use advanced threat intelligence and machine learning algorithms to identify and block phishing emails before they reach the endpoint. 
  3. Web Filtering and Content Control: Utilize web filtering and content control solutions that can block access to known phishing websites and suspicious URLs. These solutions can prevent users from inadvertently visiting malicious websites and provide warnings or notifications about potential phishing threats. 
  4. Browser Security Extensions: Encourage employees to install browser security extensions that offer additional protection against phishing attacks. These extensions can detect and warn users about potentially harmful websites, verify website authenticity, and provide anti-phishing features. 
  5. DNS Filtering: Implement DNS filtering solutions that can block access to malicious domains and prevent users from connecting to phishing websites. These solutions can analyze domain reputation and behavior, helping to identify and block phishing attempts. 
  6. Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP): Consider deploying an endpoint protection platform that combines multiple security capabilities, including anti-malware, firewall, intrusion detection/prevention, and behavior monitoring. These platforms provide comprehensive protection against various threats, including phishing attacks.


When an employee's device gets compromised or phished, it's important to take immediate action to isolate the device from the network and minimize the potential impact. Here are some steps and solutions to isolate the device promptly: 

  1. Disconnect from the Network: Instruct the employee to disconnect their device from the network immediately. This can be done by disabling Wi-Fi or unplugging the Ethernet cable. By disconnecting, you can prevent further unauthorized access or data exfiltration.
  2. Quarantine the Device: Move the compromised device to a separate network segment or VLAN specifically designated for isolated or quarantined devices.
    This helps contain any potential threats and prevents lateral movement within the network.
    Remember*- Instead of shutting down a compromised device, it is advisable to isolate it on a separate VLAN or disconnect it from the network. This allows for conducting an investigation on the device's memory and extracting evidence of compromise and related artifacts. 
  3. Remote Device Management Tools: Leverage remote device management tools to take control of the compromised device and perform necessary actions. These tools allow IT administrators to remotely disable network connectivity, shut down or restart the device, and perform other essential tasks.
  4. Endpoint Isolation Solutions: Implement endpoint isolation solutions that can automatically detect and isolate compromised devices. These solutions can analyze network traffic, behavioral patterns, and security alerts to identify suspicious activities and quarantine affected devices from the network.
  5. Network Access Control (NAC): Utilize network access control solutions to enforce security policies and restrict network access for compromised devices. NAC solutions can assess the device's security posture and quarantine it if it fails to meet the defined criteria, such as missing security updates or indicators of compromise.
  6. Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs): Configure VLANs to segregate network traffic and create separate network segments. By placing compromised devices in their own VLAN, you can isolate them from the rest of the network and limit their ability to communicate with other devices.
  7. Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDS/IPS): Deploy IDS/IPS solutions that can detect and block malicious network traffic in real-time. These systems can identify patterns associated with known threats and automatically isolate compromised devices from the network.

Cybersecurity Awareness Certifications and Trainings

  1. CISM Certification
  2. Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate (IBM) 
  3. Cybersecurity Professional Certificate (Google)
  4. The Complete Cyber Security Course (Udemy)
  5. Introduction to Cyber Security (FutureLearn) 
  6. Cybersecurity Foundations (Linkedin) 
  7. AWS Certified Security Specialty (Udemy) 
  8. Cyber Aces (Sans Institute) 
  9. IT Security: Defense against the digital dark arts (Google) 
  10. The Complete Cyber Security Course! (StationX) 
  11. Essentials of Cybersecurity Professional Certificate (edX)

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