I recently became a fan of “Black Mirror” and especially the above named episode. In this episode,
the story revolves around a young man named Kenny who becomes the victim of a malicious hacker group. Kenny's life takes a dark turn when he is caught in a web of cybercrime after his computer is compromised and he is blackmailed through his browser and email client.
- Infection and Surveillance: Kenny's computer is infected with malware that allows the hacker group to monitor his online activities. This compromise includes surveillance through his webcam and the ability to access his personal data, all initiated through seemingly innocent online interactions.
- Blackmail and Manipulation: After gathering compromising information about Kenny through his email and web browsing history, the hackers blackmail him into completing a series of increasingly dangerous and illegal tasks. Kenny is forced into a life-threatening situation due to the compromise of his online activities.
- Loss of Control: Kenny's loss of control over his browser and email client is symbolic of how a compromised digital environment can lead to personal and professional chaos. It highlights the severe consequences of a breach of privacy and security.
- Real-World Impact: "Shut Up and Dance" explores the real-world impact of browser and email client compromises, showing how they can result in personal humiliation, criminal activities, and the manipulation of individuals' lives.
This "Black Mirror" episode serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by compromised browsers and email clients. It emphasizes the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect against malware, surveillance, and the potential for personal and professional devastation resulting from such compromises.
CIS Safeguard 9.1 underscores the importance of using only fully supported browsers and email clients, stressing that up-to-date software is crucial for defending against the myriad of cyber threats prevalent in 2023. Keeping browsers and email clients updated ensures that the latest security patches and features are in place, protecting against newly discovered vulnerabilities and exploits that cybercriminals leverage. As attackers continually evolve their tactics, using supported and regularly updated software provides a defense against phishing attacks, malware distribution, and various web-based threats. In today's digital environment, where browser and email exploits are common attack vectors, maintaining updated software is not just about accessing the latest features; it is a critical practice for safeguarding personal and organizational data against the ever-growing landscape of cybercrime. These practices should be included in your security and technology policy.
Unfortunately, the fine folks at the Center for Internet Security have not completed this policy template. Feel free to join the CIS Controls Community to see how you can help.
Here’s some detail on this specific Control/Safeguard. If you want more detail, DM me.
CIS Control 9 – Email and Web Browser Protections
Improve protections and detections of threats from email and web vectors, as these are opportunities for attackers to manipulate human behavior through direct engagement.
Implementation Group 1
CIS Safeguard 9.1 - Ensure Use of Only Fully Supported Browsers and Email Clients
Ensure only fully supported browsers and email clients are allowed to execute in the enterprise, only using the latest version of browsers and email clients provided through the vendor.