Based on advanced algorithms and specialized expertise, the Cyber Notify pilot project developed by Dissect Cyber received a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology global innovation award today for its proven ability to help defend against spoofed domains used for phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) exploitations. The project’s team has helped stop over 1,500 companies from losing more than $407 million through the 15,000 rapid cyber notifications it has issued in the past two years, according to April Lorenzen, Dissect Cyber CEO.
The Cyber Notify project (http://cybernotify.org) identifies new suspicious domain registrations in near real time then notifies affected companies to expect a phishing email from those domains. For example, after receiving a Cyber Notify call that a look-alike domain had been registered for his organization, a company officer stopped the finance department from issuing funds requested in a fake email. Spoofed domains that closely match an organization’s name, called a homoglyph, are a common tactic used to trick employees into taking financial actions or sharing sensitive information.
Once detected by Cyber Notify technology, spoofed domains are prioritized by specially trained analysts based on country and impact on critical infrastructure. The highest priority records are instantly distributed to notification specialists who track down contact information for the affected company and call the best available department.
A third of the notifications over the last two years were completed within two hours of the illicit domain registration. The project’s team is built on mission-focused U.S. veterans trained to perform the analysis, make calls and send email notifications directly to targeted businesses.
The Cyber Notify pilot was initially funded by the DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Cyber Security Division (CSD) as a new research initiative focused on the best way to alert small businesses to potential threats (https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/news/2017/05/02/snapshot-dissect-cyber-alerts-small-businesses-targeted). The “S&T-Funded Performer Award: Cyber Is A Global Sport” was presented to Lorenzen and the pilot project team during the 2019 S&T Cybersecurity and Innovation Showcase held March 18-20 in Washington, D.C.