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Updates and Commentary from the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group

Author: Ash Wilson, Co-Chair, M3AAWG IoT Special Interest Group

Gartner forecasts that over 20.4 billion IoT devices will be in use by the end of 2020. These devices, while exciting, present complex security challenges that if produced without proper testing can leave sensitive information exposed to attack. As we continue to introduce new devices to the network, it's imperative that manufacturers and researchers implement testing methodologies that take a holistic view at the IoT device ecosystem to protect the privacy and security of companies and consumers alike.


By Andrew Cockburn, Principal Consulting Engineer, NETSCOUT, and Rich Compton, DDoS Special Interest Group Chair, M3AAWG; Principal Network Security Engineer III, Charter Communications

This is the first installment of M3AAWG’s “State of the Union” series, where members provide updates on prominent, evolving issues and events in the industry. 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are used by cybercriminals to shut down networks and websites, and targets can range from a single website to major services. Today, we’re seeing an increase in the sheer amount of DDoS attacks, part of a continuous upward trajectory over the past 30+ years.  Further, tactics are rapidly evolving, yet range in sophistication. In turn, experts are constantly working to pinpoint new techniques and mitigate attacks. Generally, once professionals notice or identify a new type of channel or vector, it's a race to patch, resolve, and add mitigations for the new attack vector before its usage becomes widespread. 


By Stuart McBride, Head of Threat Intelligence, AdaptiveMobile Security

Cybercriminals frequently use major world events, including natural disasters, international conflicts, and political elections, to manipulate vulnerable targets. The latest scheme is focused on exploiting the public’s fear around COVID-19 and the coinciding economic shutdown through SMS spam attacks. Attackers are primarily using messages that appear like legitimate updates to stimulus and relief payments to entice unsuspecting victims into clicking links or providing information.


The global uncertainty created by COVID-19 has left many individuals and organizations vulnerable to online scams and other cyberattacks, making our work and the work of our members, more important than ever. To facilitate anti-abuse collaboration and the development of security best-practices, while ensuring the health and safety of our members, we’re excited to host our 49th General Meeting from June 8-11, 2020 virtually for the first time ever.

Author: Janet Jones, M3AAWG Board of Directors Vice Chair; Diversity and Inclusion Chair; and Data and Identity Protection Committee Co-Chair


Supporting the development of inclusive leaders and diverse teams is a priority at M3AAWG. Our mission has long been to work together to solve complex cybersecurity anti-abuse challenges, sothe participation from our diverse body of members to reflect the broadest range of experiences is critical to our overall success. 


Author: Amy Cadagin (M3AAWG Executive Director)


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to harmonize different data privacy laws across European countries in an effort to protect the privacy and data protection rights of individuals and empower them to better understand and make decisions on who processes their data and in what way.


Author: Barry Leiba, M3AAWG Senior Technical Advisor



This February, M3AAWG awarded Cristine Hoepers, Ph.D., the general manager of CERT.br, the Brazilian national Computer Emergency Response Team, with the annual Mary Litynski Award. Now in its tenth year, this award honors the memory of Mary and the work she did to shape M3AAWG into the leading organization that it is today, one that is dedicated to fighting online abuse such as malware, DDoS attacks, election security attacks, and more.

We're in the middle of a crazy time in history, and if you’re feeling stressed, that's totally understandable. Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the virus and we urge you to hang tough. We're going to get through this, and so will you.

We also want to explicitly recognize that even if you're in a part of the country where COVID-19-related impacts have been limited to-date, you're still probably navigating some big changes in your life.

The United States is facing an unprecedented election season. Instead of in-person rallies and speaking slots, campaigns are now entirely online, relying primarily on digital engagement with voters. Never in history have candidates had so many ways of reaching voters directly or indirectly, the most popular—and effective—is text messaging to mobile devices. However, poor execution and disregard for established guidelines could undermine the potency of this channel. In a time when digital isn’t a nice to have but the only connection to the voting populace, getting it wrong will certainly spell disaster.



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