Recognizing Malicious Links

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If you’re planning to take the Security+ exam, you should have a basic understanding of various types of attacks. This includes recognizing an attack using malicious links, malicious code, or malicious attachments.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. Marge reports that she keeps receiving unwanted emails about personal loans. What does this describe?

A. Phishing

B. Spear phishing

C. Spam

D. Vishing

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? The answer and explanation is available at the end of this post.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

  • Introduction
  • About the exam (including types of questions and strategies for performance-based questions)
  • 100 question pre-assessment exam
  • Mastering Security Basics (full content from Chapter 1 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Exploring Control Types and Methods (full content from Chapter 2 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Basic Network Security (full content from Chapter 3 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Your Network (full content from Chapter 4 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Securing Hosts and Data (full content from Chapter 5 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Malware and Social Engineering (full content from Chapter 6 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Identifying Advanced Attacks (full content from Chapter 7 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Managing Risk (full content from Chapter 8 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Preparing for Business Continuity (full content from Chapter 9 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
  • Understanding Cryptography (full content from Chapter 10 of the study guide including the exam topic review and 20 practice test questions)
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  • 100 question post-assessment exam
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34 Simulated Performance-based Questions

Eight sets of performance-based questions with multiple questions in each set. These questions help you understand and prepare for performance based questions.

22 Realistic Performance-based Questions

Two new sets of performance-based questions with a total of 22 questions. These new questions use a new testing engine that includes realistic drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in the blank questions.

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Spam

Spam is unwanted or unsolicited email. Depending on which study you quote, between 80 percent and 92 percent of all Internet email is spam. Some spam is harmless advertisements, while much more is malicious. Spam can include malicious links, malicious code, or malicious attachments. Even when it’s not malicious, when only 1 of 10 emails is valid, it can waste a lot of your time.

In some cases, legitimate companies encourage users to opt-in to their email lists and then send them email about their products. When users opt-in to a mailing list, they agree to the terms. On the surface, you’d think that this means that you agree to receive email from the company and that’s true. However, terms often include agreeing to allow their partners to send you email, which means the original company can share your email address with others.

Malicious Links

Legitimate companies don’t send you malicious spam, but they might send you more email than you want. Laws require them to include the ability to opt-out, indicating you don’t want to receive any more emails from them. Once you opt-out, you shouldn’t receive any more emails from that company.

Originally, spam was just unwanted advertisements sent out to people, even if they chose to opt-out. However, attackers began using spam for malicious purposes. Attackers often include malicious attachments and malicious code within spam email. More recently, spam attacks include malicious links. If users click on a link in a malicious email, it often takes them to a site hosting a drive-by download.

Criminals use a variety of methods to collect email addresses. They buy lists from other criminals and harvest them from web sites. Some malware scans address books of infected computers to collect email. Because they are criminals, they don’t care about laws, but they might include opt-out instructions in spam they send. However, instead of this getting you off the email list, it provides them confirmation that your email address is valid. The result is more spam.

Remember this

Spam is unwanted email. Phishing is malicious spam. Attackers attempt to trick users into revealing sensitive or personal information or clicking on a link. Links within email can also lead unsuspecting users to install malware.

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Spim

Spim is a form of spam using instant messaging (IM). It targets instant messaging users, such as those using Yahoo! Messenger or Windows Live Messenger. Some social media sites also support pop-up windows, and attackers sometimes try to impersonate a user’s friend and encourage the victim to click on a link. Many IM services support the use of whitelists, where users identify who they’ll receive messages from and the IM system blocks all other messages.

Privilege Escalation

Privilege escalation occurs when a user or process accesses elevated rights and permissions. When attackers first compromise a system, they often have minimal privileges. However, privilege escalation tactics allow them to get more and more privileges.

For example, imagine hacker Harry is attacking a web server over the Internet. He might only have guest or anonymous access to the system initially, and he can’t do much with this access. He uses different techniques during the attack to gain more and more privileges. If he can escalate his privileges high enough, he will have full administrative or root access to the system.

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Malware frequently tries to gain access to elevated privileges through the logged-on user. For example, if a user logs on with administrative privileges, the malware can elevate its privileges through the user account.

Many organizations require administrators to have two accounts. They use one account for regular use and one for administrative use. The only time they would log on with the administrator account is when they are performing administrative work. This reduces the time the administrative account is in use, and reduces the potential for privilege escalation if the user’s system is infected with malware.


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All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

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Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
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INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

Q. Marge reports that she keeps receiving unwanted emails about personal loans. What does this describe?

A. Phishing

B. Spear phishing

C. Spam

D. Vishing

Answer is C. Spam is unwanted emails from any source.

Phishing and spear phishing are types of attacks using email.

Vishing is similar to phishing but it uses telephone technology.

See Chapter 5 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on other attacks.

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