Chapter 1: The Collector accessible version
The Anatomy of a Hack, Chapter 1: The Collector, Page 1
On a bright morning, Cindy wakes up and gets ready for the day. She begins her workday at Health Care Agency, signing into her laptop at her workstation. She finds 15 new emails in her inbox. Cindy types away at her laptop, hoping to respond to the emails before attending her meeting.
An email appears on Cindy’s laptop with the subject “Urgent!”. The sender’s name is Katrina Kumar with email address email@example.com, and a file titled “Presentation” is attached to the email. The message reads: Hi Cindy, I need this information for a briefing this morning. Please review and return to me ASAP. Katrina
Cindy is alarmed to receive an urgent request from her director. She immediately clicks on the email attachment and saves it to her computer.
The Anatomy of a Hack, Chapter 1: The Collector, Page 2
Once opened, the “Presentation” file appears as a blank PowerPoint deck. Cindy wonders if her director sent her the wrong file. With her email address firstname.lastname@example.org, she replies to the email message: Hi Katrina, The presentation you sent is blank. Please advise. Cindy
Cindy receives a reply from Katrina: No worries. There was a mistake on my end, but it has been resolved. No further action is required on your end. Katrina. Upon reading the message, Cindy scratches her head in confusion. Something like this has never happened to her before. She is thinking of following up with the message when she is interrupted by a meeting notification on her computer.
Cindy joins her virtual team meeting and soon forgets about the email. She comments to her team members that there is nothing out of the ordinary about her day.
The Anatomy of a Hack, Chapter 1: The Collector, Page 3
Meanwhile, the scene changes to another building. There is a dimly lit hallway leading to a dark office where individuals are working on their computers. Connor is seen studying the Health Care Agency Organizational Chart and different levels of employees, while Sabrina is creating malware files on her computer. Derrick is on his computer when a new mail appears on his screen; he opens it. The email subject is Re: Urgent! From email@example.com. It reads: Hi Katrina, The presentation you sent is blank. Please advise. Cindy
Derrick smiles maliciously as he sends a reply to the email: No worries. There was a mistake on my end, but it has been resolved. No further action is required on your end. Katrina
The Anatomy of a Hack, Chapter 1: The Collector, Page 4
In a dark room with the organization’s name, Threat Actor Organization, on the wall, Derrick, Anon, Sabrina, and Connor are meeting around a table. Anon shares that the team’s phishing email was successful, and that the team has their foot in the door at Health Care Agency. Anon compliments Connor’s work on scraping employee information for the email to Cindy. Sabrina confirms that the malware package should be installed on Cindy’s computer.
Anon congratulates the team on their good work, and they respond with mischievous grins. Anon says he will send more instructions later in the week. His face darkens and he smiles at the fun that lies ahead.
The names and events used, past or present, in this story are fictional. Any resemblance to entities, people, or events is purely coincidental.