HSNnews writes "At a Hopkinton, Massachusetts, office, an executive received an email that appeared to be from a coworker on March 1, 2011. Attached to the email was an Excel spreadsheet titled “2011 Recruitment Plan.” The man opened the spreadsheet. The email was not from a coworker, it was a carefully crafted attack known as spear fishing” in which a fraudulent email is sent to a specific person. The spear-fishing email contained an Excel spreadsheet with a zero-day exploit and a version of the Poison Ivy RAT (remote administration tool) payload embedded. The RAT enabled a hacker to gain privileged access to the network of RSA Security (an American computer and network security company). The company had been founded by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman, the inventors of the RSA public key cryptographic algorithm. This single event initiated an attack that would result in the compromise of one of the largest and most respected data security companies in the world."
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