Coronavirus-Themed Phish Continue to Surge

By Max Gannon

Since our reporting on Coronavirus-themed phishing campaigns began, Cofense Intelligence has seen them surge, along with associated malware families. As more enterprises and government entities mandate remote work, threat actors stand to gain from using “work from home” or “Coronavirus” themed phishing emails. We recently explored this in a Flash Alert and Strategic Analysis that Cofense Intelligence customers received, highlighting the impersonation of trusted brands like Google Drive in complex campaigns and offering mitigation steps.

Primary Observed Trends

Over the past month, Cofense Intelligence has identified the following trends prevalent in COVID-19 themed phishing campaigns. Credential phishing campaigns have been the most common, though we have seen several malware families delivered as well.

Most Common Delivery Mechanisms:

  • Attached spreadsheet or Word document delivering a second-stage malware executable
  • Attached archived executable
  • Embedded URLs delivering ransomware
  • Office macros
  • CVE-2017-11882
      • Auto-IT Dropper (which exploits CVE-2017-1882)

 

Malware Delivered:

·       Agent Tesla Keylogger ·       Ave_Maria Stealer ·       Black RAT ·       FormGrabber
·       Hakbit Ransomware ·       Hawkeye Keylogger ·       KPOT Stealer ·       Lime RAT
·       Loki Bot ·       NanoCore ·       Nemty Ransomware ·       Pony
·       Remcos RAT ·       SalityBot ·       TrickBot

 

Commonly Spoofed Organization Types:

  • World Health Organization
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Other global/regional health organizations
  • Health related non-profits/medical associations
  • Federal, State and Local Departments of Health/Ministries of Health
  • Transportation companies
  • Shipping companies

Many COVID-19 phishing templates have been more convincing than your average phish. In one example, seen in Figure 1 below, threat actors hosted the logo of the spoofed organization on Google Drive and added an additional threat at the end of the email: a whopping $1,000 fine if the supposedly attached forms to approve travel outside of the home are not filled out by the recipient. The attachment delivers the information stealer KPOT via a VBS script to AutoIT dropper. The dropper uses legitimate Windows utilities to disguise its actions.

Figure 1: Coronavirus-Themed Email Delivers Complex Chain

Phishing Threat Landscape Future Changes

Coronavirus themes have predictably grown in popularity and will almost certainly continue to do so. These phishing campaigns are also likely going to adapt over time to incorporate related work from home, teleconference or videoconference invites or notices, government refund, unemployment filing, and online ordering themes. Some threat actors have already begun to do this, as shown in Figure 2, where threat actors used a “Work Remotely Enrollment (Action Required)” subject, spoofing internal Human Resources to deliver links to credential phishing pages hosted on Microsoft SharePoint. Additional  Coronavirus phishing email examples that evade email gateways are available on the Cofense Coronavirus Phishing Information Center. This center is continually updated with campaigns identified by Cofense Intelligence, and the related IOCs are sent to our customers daily.

Figure 2: Example Email with Coronavirus “Work From Home” Related Theme

If COVID-19 continues to affect business operations, it is likely this will affect the phishing threat landscape more broadly. While many organizations continue to maintain some operations, there are likely to be some longer-term shifts in normal business communications.  For example, an email about an office party or an in-person meeting is more likely to make employees suspicious than it would have previously.

These kinds of changes will also likely extend to our personal lives as well in the “stay home” era. An email about new concert tickets or in-store sales will likely raise a red flag. Simply causing individuals to pause for a few extra seconds because something seems suspicious may not seem particularly monumental. However, when users briefly break out of their ordinary mindsets, they gain the opportunity to report a link rather than click a link—a key component of effective phishing reporting programs. Although, as noted above, threat actors will almost certainly adapt as well in their phishing templates.

As Coronavirus continues to affect everyone, there will likely be a significant shift in the phishing threat landscape for the most common malware and phishing themes, even excluding specifically Coronavirus-related themes. Although there has been a massive shift to remote work, some organizations have minimal remote operations infrastructure. In order to operate, they have no choice but to allow some users to connect to infrastructure with a lowered accepted standard of security. Organizational responses to suspicious network or user behavior may also be complicated due to these changes. Previously, such incidents of suspicious network or user behavior could be dealt with by physically quarantining the computer and quickly supplying a replacement as incident response teams investigate the issue. Currently, this may not be possible if the only way the employee can contact work-related support is via their potentially compromised computer. More laborious responses may delay investigations and mitigations.

These kinds of scenarios are what makes it ever more important for organizations to ensure phishing prevention is as much a focus as post-compromise detection. Incident response and mitigation will certainly be more difficult as long as workforces need to remain dispersed.

 

How Cofense Can Help

Visit Cofense’s Coronavirus Phishing Infocenter to stay up to date as threats evolve. Our site is updated with screenshots and YARA rules as we continue to track campaigns.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.
The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.

Coronavirus Redefines the Phishing Threat Landscape

By Aaron Riley

Cofense Intelligence has seen a stark increase in phishing email campaigns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic that spoof trusted health services to deliver credential phishing or malware. Credential phishing makes up the majority of the campaigns analyzed, with the minority ranging from simple to complex delivery chain and malware samples. With some companies quickly adopting work-from-home (WFH) policies, threat actors are poised to take advantage of the newly created security gaps by playing on pandemic fears. The potential impact of these phishing campaigns, along with the current economic uncertainty, can be devastating to an organization.

As soon as threat actors began weaponizing this crisis in phishing emails, Cofense Intelligence published a Flash Alert reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) were spoofed in a Coronavirus-themed phishing campaign to deliver the Agent Tesla keylogger. Since that alert, we have seen an increase in phishing campaigns that spoof organizations in aviation and other transportation industries.

Coronavirus-themed campaigns that deliver malware are starting to evolve in complexity as well. For example, the Agent Tesla keylogger campaign mentioned above was delivered via an email attachment, which would have been blocked by sandbox analysis. In comparison, the most recent campaign used a Microsoft Office Word document with the CVE-2017-11882 exploit, which delivered an AutoIT dropper that placed five different malware family samples onto the endpoint: Remcos RAT, Black RAT, Ave_Maria Stealer, Lime RAT, and Sality Bot. All five of these payloads are designed to steal information and provide persistent control to a threat operator, and only one needs to be successful in its attempts to compromise the machine.

Most organizations are not set up to have all employees work from home. As these organizations attempt to quickly develop their WFH business requirements, they might overlook security. An organization’s most reliable and hardened security features are typically within its physical facility and do not extend much beyond that domain. These security features include, but are not limited to, Network Access Control (NAC), content filtering, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), eavesdropping / Machine In The Middle (MITM) prevention, and update/patch management. With some of these security features effectively “bypassed” for the attacker in a WFH situation, organizations face an increased risk that a phishing campaign will impact them. A malicious incident or event could go unnoticed by overburdened IT administration and security teams for longer than normal periods.

Most of the newly created risk can be mitigated. Network Access Control can be done with a software agent on each endpoint attempting to connect to the organization. The agent communicates to an authoritative entity to prove the machine has the organization’s trusted certificate to connect to the internal network, is up to date with antivirus definitions, and is fully patched to the organization’s requirements. Mandatory network tunneling for the endpoint can mitigate the lack of content filtering, network DLP, and MITM security measures. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to the enterprise network, which forces the network traffic through its egress and ingress points, will help cover the risk created by WFH employees—as long as employees do not reintroduce the vulnerability by turning off the VPN. These measures are effective but require resources and time to implement, which some organizations might find challenging while rapidly rolling out WFH.

Organizations need to educate their employees about the risk of Coronavirus-themed phishing attacks and, at the same time, ensure that employees do not dismiss legitimate information. Creating phishing simulation templates around the Coronavirus theme is not advised. Doing so could cause undue panic or add unnecessary noise. Instead, organizations should describe what to look for in Coronavirus phishing attempts and then explain how legitimate information will be communicated.

Cofense Intelligence anticipates the volume of Coronavirus-themed phishing campaigns will continue to increase in the near future and will target specific industry sectors such as healthcare, energy, and public services. These campaigns will make increased use of malware and will spoof a larger number of legitimate businesses. Security teams will need to act quickly to determine new WFH risks and the proper mitigations. Clear, concise communication and education, coupled with secure technology and the right implementation strategies, is the best way to secure the target base of these phishing attacks.

How Cofense Can Help

Visit Cofense’s Coronavirus Phishing Infocenter to stay up to date as threats evolves. Our site is updated with screenshots and YARA rules as we continue to track campaigns.

For Cofense Intelligence customers who would like to keep up with the Active Threat Reports and indicators being published, all COVID-19 campaigns are tagged with the “Pandemic” search tag.

Cofense Intelligence customers can also search up to date reports in ThreatHQ using the “Search Tags” field in the Search Form.

Indicators of Compromise
To view the full list of IOCs, click on the menu below to expand further.

36802, 36908, 36937, 36938, 36939, 36940, 36941, 36942, 36943, 36957, 37146, 37148, 37149, 37151, 37152, 37226, 37227, 37228, 37230

PM_Intel_Nemty_37230
PM_Intel_AgentTesla_37227
PM_Intel_AgentTesla_37226
PM_Intel_TrickBot_37151
PM_Intel_AgentTesla_37152
PM_Intel_Loki_37149
PM_Intel_Hawkeye_37148
PM_Intel_Hawkeye_37146
PM_Intel_AgentTesla_36802
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36943
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36942
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36940
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36939
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36938
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36937
PM_Intel_CredPhish_36941
PM_Intel_BlackRAT_36957
PM_Intel_Loki_36908

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hxxps://gocycle[.]com[.]au/cdcgov/files/
hxxps://urbanandruraldesign[.]com[.]au/cdcgov/files/
hxxps://healing-yui223[.]com/cd[.]php
hxxps://onthefx[.]com/cd[.]php
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hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=j3x1pd2ADExKICKojgcV
hxxps://186[.]71[.]150[.]23:449/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=IqS9Lp3Qs0uILRwyvocO
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=8ldKgFEC3ev2pLmqqKYu
hxxps://31[.]131[.]21[.]168:447/red5/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=qAfHjNJAMHs8TCAv8VAY
hxxp://142[.]93[.]22[.]0:80/
hxxps://200[.]21[.]51[.]38:449/red5/
hxxps://5[.]255[.]96[.]186:447/red5/
hxxps://200[.]127[.]121[.]99:449/red5/
hxxps://5[.]2[.]79[.]66:443/red5/
hxxps://185[.]99[.]2[.]137:443/lib698/
hxxps://51[.]254[.]164[.]245:443/red5/
hxxps://185[.]99[.]2[.]137:443/red5/
hxxps://64[.]44[.]51[.]124:447/red5/
hxxps://177[.]74[.]232[.]124:80/red5/
hxxps://200[.]127[.]121[.]99:449/lib698/
hxxps://171[.]100[.]142[.]238:449/red5/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=juhyLxqVBnei6qmSsjZ7
hxxps://178[.]156[.]202[.]157:447/lib698/
hxxps://172[.]245[.]157[.]135:443/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]99[.]2[.]115:443/red5/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=HMucklYySnPDh9NWPo2h
hxxps://217[.]12[.]209[.]200:443/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]244[.]39[.]65:447/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=gjBKrgh9ZivFEv6OnkVg
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=QKf1HHY4dLUK3t2czTR3
hxxps://31[.]131[.]21[.]168:447/lib698/
hxxps://103[.]84[.]238[.]3:80/lib698/
hxxps://177[.]74[.]232[.]124:80/lib698/
hxxps://203[.]176[.]135[.]102:8082/lib698/
hxxps://181[.]129[.]104[.]139:449/lib698/
hxxps://131[.]161[.]253[.]190:449/lib698/
hxxps://188[.]120[.]242[.]75:447/red5/
hxxps://181[.]196[.]207[.]202:449/lib698/
hxxps://62[.]109[.]11[.]248:447/red5/
hxxps://36[.]89[.]106[.]69:80/lib698/
hxxps://198[.]15[.]82[.]162:443/lib698/
hxxps://181[.]113[.]28[.]146:449/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]14[.]31[.]98:447/red5/
hxxps://185[.]142[.]99[.]89:443/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=93vdwyq6sh9oBUrUmnzS
hxxps://107[.]172[.]191[.]12:443/red5/
hxxps://185[.]203[.]118[.]37:443/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=IJgYwiMilRq9dmvYXx5O
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=oViUuJw2ydNIx3h3QEYd
hxxps://46[.]4[.]167[.]242:447/lib698/
hxxps://5[.]2[.]76[.]29:447/lib698/
hxxps://146[.]185[.]219[.]63:443/lib698/
hxxps://190[.]100[.]16[.]210:8082/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response/rcrd[.]php?s=1547738007155673
hxxps://4cao4pyxbarkxf4n[.]onion:448/lib698/
hxxps://112[.]78[.]164[.]34:8082/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]99[.]2[.]115:443/lib698/
hxxps://45[.]148[.]120[.]153:443/lib698/
hxxps://193[.]37[.]213[.]128:443/lib698/
hxxps://45[.]148[.]120[.]153:443/red5/
hxxps://190[.]214[.]13[.]2:449/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]20[.]185[.]76:443/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=d4wYKmoNAL4jbXsWnwNP
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=uCQHZmGWTLLlfhfR94Wj
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=kpmcigmW4tIXJAliL5SP
hxxps://5[.]255[.]96[.]186:447/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=9kgyvNnUnLXBHKxfhR76
hxxps://131[.]161[.]253[.]190:449/red5/
hxxps://185[.]14[.]31[.]97:443/lib698/
hxxps://188[.]209[.]52[.]162:443/lib698/
hxxps://185[.]14[.]31[.]252:443/lib698/
hxxps://212[.]80[.]217[.]220:447/red5/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=hhHR67XuY9k7vxRMdwoh
hxxps://193[.]111[.]62[.]50:447/lib698/
hxxps://170[.]84[.]78[.]224:449/lib698/
hxxps://112[.]78[.]164[.]34:8082/red5/
hxxps://181[.]129[.]134[.]18:449/red5/
hxxps://146[.]185[.]253[.]179:447/lib698/
hxxps://190[.]100[.]16[.]210:8082/red5/
hxxps://146[.]185[.]253[.]176:447/red5/
hxxps://190[.]119[.]180[.]226:8082/lib698/
hxxps://171[.]100[.]142[.]238:449/lib698/
hxxps://181[.]113[.]28[.]146:449/red5/
hxxps://51[.]254[.]164[.]245:443/lib698/
hxxps://23[.]94[.]185[.]27:446/response[.]php?s=1584097681876834&id=O6D4aGfNwIxDT5OfEo9d
hxxp://uzoclouds[.]eu/dutchz/dutchz[.]exe
hxxp://bibpap[.]com/1g7/pin[.]php
hxxp://posqit[.]net/TT/50590113[.]exe
hxxp://bitly[.]ws/83FN
hxxp://nemty[.]top/public/pay[.]php
hxxp://nemty10[.]biz/public/gate[.]php
hxxps://marsdefenseandscience[.]com/reports[.]zip
hxxp://zjoxyw5mkacojk5ptn2iprkivg5clow72mjkyk5ttubzxprjjnwapkad[.]onion/public/pay[.]php

euromopy[.]tech
wusameetings[.]tk
emrahkucukkapdan[.]com
gardapalace[.]it
snsoft[.]host-ed[.]me
cornerload[.]dynu[.]net
seasonsnonaco[.]ddnsking[.]com
datalinksol[.]com
nlcfoundation[.]org
sevgikresi[.]net
autocarsalonmobil[.]com
seasons444[.]ddns[.]net
krupoonsak[.]com
natufarma[.]net
edirneli[.]net
mabdesign[.]unlugar[.]com
babystophouse[.]com
glamfromeast[.]com
hidroservbistrita[.]ro
onlinepreneur[.]id
onlinepreneur[.]id
site-inspection[.]com
uzoclouds[.]eu
bibpap[.]com
posqit[.]net
zjoxyw5mkacojk5ptn2iprkivg5clow72mjkyk5ttubzxprjjnwapkad[.]onion
nemty10[.]biz
marsdefenseandscience[.]com
nemty[.]top

45[.]64[.]97[.]178

185[.]216[.]35[.]10

ef07feae7c00a550f97ed4824862c459
05adf4a08f16776ee0b1c271713a7880
29e8800ebaa43e3c9a8b9c8a2fcf0689
970bc68378526981f7b470b014e4a61d
648a2da84b857520830981af55bbd4f2
e36b292de6db73e78f77ea2fed092848
dca53f253066ff1736d9735e0e4f861b
ecdcf6e29f917239ecd9f3c4cd4bd4b4
4ad1b0398bc3a371a82923383de2d0a4
54fb481530500d781d0aa282e8524016
0c6fa100c0fd612d9f55a87017989621
457d4329b66efcbd6bcba521502df6a8
6053a2d672f9f9bd5cd0725d4b106493
c1ab6a9a559d54c071eb110235f77fe2
be950f0aaa6654c30532168a3f82d4e6
33498c2e5ce532fdbcabfc2caa882e04
ca0951249ef447ca0443ebf519b7ec7e
24cabc6a0a02674fc6a1e778cd265ecc
d6557715b015a2ff634e4ffd5d53ffba
2858a05f4ec255cb383db26019720959
4e9aa334811b6a4fa6542483a34fc9c5
caf133755a01fea99b323e3fa1965705
c6f8278ee29471ce84b4f6bb148161de
1f7ff50f672288616ef80220ab41cddc
ef991e614208324eecb10831f0b6990d
93109ef58dc7fa86e2cb186e8d8cfc8a
8f9c95b359a574f16801184b095a027d
ba0b4e05e3b26e26f2e0793b9190ba2c
f4d2bdeeb7c5c3eac0afe845b988b31a
a39694b7311fc2d0991d6f7aa4d22460
d9822e032bb6f0d39aba533ba5b50dca
ba6a13ad9f673e365580b389a7297611
64574f1a3b4d554322279a238c7943f1
8aa849595f1065dce6488dcff4caa043
34b9244ead7f1d1d4a94e04a05d8f474
222d2f0dcae9889174e500fea7655b9a
811e21aadc64bbbedaa2d616bd258f58
4ed0cbc8dc2c3208bf760976d854b276
1cd9c1348db93cd674066f566740d697
3a7d8ab97cc7cacdc6b613632f79ae36
777250fb412071ab4b655883de6b888b
fa1ed07a84d0f6db0560edffc0f5cd0c
cc24481d8673278c9ca9a427aebfaf30
a98c28d9666e6050b2c76d0062342078
62ded00158221fd7b3e678b9d9edbd7b
ecf4c248beb954f59901bba955646c19
64574f1a3b4d554322279a238c7943f1
62025fefd240ac80326db825903da90e
2f1ac455d1c6e2a3f3e0d1137b047696
a5a2a55b29d20a684b09e40d4480029d
022e42a2ad49f8428f34435b595c7216
08dd5ee67ee69ddfa11cb55562baef58
e7351df51633435293ddc09de7fdc57c
1179a7989031fc4b6331505b388dcb12
378bbb172ccae5e28549a003e4e84bce
07d718b0b7f2bbe0ea001c76aca82b7d
f221f92d7f8ccb7133f58ae1a3f4257c
501318d315ba07554f92ff13ebb075c2
b57d2c252746baff47e12b4021a75ba4

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.
The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.

Phish Fryday – Threat Intelligence in Phishing Defense

Cyber defense goes beyond following a book of best practices. It requires awareness of current threats and how to defend against those threats, otherwise the amount of “what ifs” will overwhelm a security team. In this episode, we speak with Mollie MacDougall, Intelligence Product Manager at Cofense, about the role of threat intelligence in phishing defense.

Mentioned in this episode:

Cofense Intelligence

Questions or comments? Reach us at phishfryday@cofense.com

Threat Actors Evade Proofpoint and Microsoft 365 ATP Protection to Capitalize on COVID-19 Fears

By: Kian Mahdavi, Cofense Phishing Defense Center

The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has witnessed a surge in Coronavirus phishing campaigns found in environments protected by Proofpoint and Microsoft Office 365 ATP. While these Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) are designed to safeguard end users from clicking on malicious links and attachments, both failed in a new phishing attack we recently observed.

Figure 1 – Proofpoint SEG within the Email Header

Figure 2 – Extracted Information in Email Header

The extracted header information above in Figure 2 displays fragments of the email from the received path. The threat actor spoofed the domain splashmath[.]com (an online learning game for children) with a spoofed IP address of 167[.]89[.]87[.]104, which is located in the United States. For this reason, the email slipped past basic security checks, such as DKIM and SPF, shown in Figure 2. The threat actor inserted key words, such as “who” and “community” in the sender email address to manipulate the user into thinking it’s from the World Health Organization.

Upon further investigation of the email header, the originating IP address of 88[.]119[.]86[.]63 was found to be from the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, as shown below in Figure 3. The phishing email was sent to different individuals, each with the same originating IP address, indicating the likelihood of a single threat actor carrying out these attacks.

Figure 3 – Originating IP Address

The body of the email in Figure 4, as shown below, urges the user to find out if there are cases of COVID-19 in their local area by clicking on ‘Read on’. When then end-user clicks, they are led to believe that they will be directed to an updated WHO document. However, the user is actually directed to a Microsoft branded credential phish to steal their Microsoft log-in information.

The subject of the email is “HIGH-RISK: New confirmed cases in your city,” followed by the spoofed WHO email address and display name (who[.]int-community[.]spread@ splashmath[.]com), thus making it appear as if the sender is really from the World Health Organization. The sender does not contain any information addressed to the recipient, such as “Good Morning” or “Dear…”, indicating that this is a mass-email attack sent to many individuals. In addition, there is an image that would have usually loaded, however in these stressful circumstances, individuals may overlook this and would click on the “Read on” link.

Figure 4 – Email Body

Network Indicators of Compromise (IOCs):

Users are under the impression that by clicking on the ‘read on’ link, they will be redirected to:

Hosted URL IP Address
hXXp://o[.]splashmath[.]com/ls/click?upn=H2FOwAYY7ZayaWl4grkl1LazPuy6jduhWjWPwf0O2D 167[.]89[.]118[.]52
167[.]89[.]123[.]54

The users are instead forwarded to one of the following malicious redirects:

Credential Phishing Pages URLs IP Address
hXXps://heinrichgrp[.]com/who/files/af1fd55c21fdb935bd71ead7acc353d7[.]php 31[.]193[.]4[.]14
hXXps://coronasdeflores[.]cl/who 186[.]64[.]116[.]135
hXXps://www[.]frufc[.]net/who/files/61fe6624ec1fcc7cac629546fc9f25c3[.]php 87[.]117[.]220[.]232
hXXps://pharmadrugdirect[.]com/who 31[.]193[.]4[.]14
hXXps://ee-cop[.]co[.]uk/who/files/3b9f575dac9cc432873f6165c9bed507[.]php 82[.]166[.]34[.]188

A quick Google search reveals the last phishing page listed above (hXXps://ee-cop[.]co[.]uk/who/files/3b9f575dac9cc432873f6165c9bed507[.]php) was created with “WordPress” within the description (Figure 5), a potential red flag for a savvy end user.

Figure 5 – Google Search of the Phishing Page

As shown in Figure 6 below, recipients are presented with a high-quality, spoofed Microsoft login page. Upon clicking, the user’s email address is attached within the URL of the webpage; therefore, the individual’s username automatically appears in the login box. Upon logging in, the user is under the impression he or she has been authenticated into a legitimate Microsoft website. At this point, the user’s credentials are unfortunately in the hands of the threat actor.

Figure 6 – Final Phishing Page

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

Cofense has created the Coronavirus Phishing Infocenter with examples of real Coronavirus phishing scams, an infographic illustrating 5 signs of these phish, a publicly available YARA rule, and much more.

75% of threats reported to the Cofense Phishing Defense Center are credential phish. Protect the keys to your kingdom—condition end users to be resilient to credential harvesting attacks with Cofense PhishMe. Tp remove the blind spot, get visibility of attacks with Cofense Reporter.

Quickly turn user-reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers received Yara rule PM_Intel_CredPhish_37315 and further information about this threat in Active Threat Report (ATR) 37315.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about the REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.
The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.

Phish Fryday – Cyber Insurance and Risk Management

Risk management is more than just ensuring bad things don’t happen. There are some risks that can’t be adequately mitigated and organizations look to risk transference, such as insurance, to help protect them. In this episode, we speak with Darren Thomson, head of Cyber Security Strategy at CyberCube, to discuss the role of cyber insurance in cyber risk management.

Mentioned in this episode:

CyberCube

Questions or comments? Reach us at phishfryday@cofense.com

One, Two, Three Phish: Adversaries Target Mobile Users

By Elmer Hernandez, Cofense Phishing Defense Center

The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has spotted a phishing attack directed at mobile users purporting to come from Three, a British telecommunications and internet service provider. The attack relies on a well-spoofed html file, enticing users to provide everything from their password and personal details to their credit card information. 

Users are informed of a bill payment that could not be processed by their bank. They are urged to download the html file “3GUK[.]html” to edit their billing information in order to avoid service suspension. Users should always be wary of requests to download and open html/htm file attachments as opposed to being linked directly from their email client (which also, of course, is no guarantee of a legitimate email).

Figure 1 – Email Body

Spoofed Phish Page

As seen in Figures 2 and 3, The attached 3GUK[.]html file then requests login credentials, personal information and credit card details. The source code indicates this is a clone of actual Three html code, re-appropriated for malicious purposes; for instance, styling elements are pulled from actual Three websites. Additionally, all options in 3GUK[.]html direct to the legitimate relevant Three page so that, for example, if one clicks on “iPhone 11” under the Popular Phones section at the bottom, the end user is redirected to the real Three iPhone 11 page.

Figures 2 and 3 – Cloned Phishing Pages

The smoking gun is in the action attribute of the HTML form element. Figure 4 confirms that any information provided is processed by the “processing[.]php” script, located at hxxp://joaquinmeyer[.]com/wb/processing[.]php, a domain the adversary has compromised. Adversaries need only modify key sections of the cloned html code such as in Figure 4 below in order to turn benign code into a convincing phish.

Figure 4 – Malicious cloned html code

The Devil is in the Metadata

The From field, as seen in Figure 5 below, indicates “online@three[.]co[.]uk” as the apparent source of the email. The SPF check shows this was the address provided in the SMTP MAIL FROM command. We also see a SoftFail result for the originating IP 86.47.56.231; this means the domain of three.co.uk discourages, but does not explicitly rule out, this IP address as a permitted sender.

Figure 5 – SPF check

In other words, the SPF records for the domain of three[.]co[.]uk contain the ~all mechanism, which flags but ultimately lets the email through. Worried that legitimate email will be blocked by a stricter SPF policy, such as a (Hard)Fail with -all, many companies’ SPF records do not dare make an explicit statement regarding who is and is not permitted sender, potentially enabling spoofed emails.

DNS PTR record resolves the originating IP 86.47.56.231 to mail[.]moultondesign[.]com. Although an apparent subdomain of moultondesign[.]com, there is no evident relation between the two. There is no corresponding DNS A record, as confirmed by a Wireshark capture, as seen in Figure 6. The supposed parent domain is hosted by Namesco Ireland at 195.7.226.154, unlike the malicious IP address which is part the ADSL Pool of Irish provider EIR, suggesting a residential use.

Figure 6 – Missing DNS A Record

The email also contains a spoofed Message-ID (Figure 7). Although these do not need to conform to any particular structure, they often contain a timestamp. In this case, the digits on the left of the dot seem to follow the format YYYYMMDDhhhhss, amounting to 2020 February 5th 16:34:08; the digits to the right of the dot could or could not have any significance. Finally, the presence of Three’s Fully Qualified Domain Name adds a further element of credibility that might deceive more tech-savvy users.

Figure 7 – Message-ID

IOCs:

Malicious URLs:
hxxp://joaquinmeyer[.]com/wb/processing[.]php
mail[.]moultondesign[.]com

Associated IPs:
65.60.11.250
86.47.56.231

 

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

75% of threats reported to the Cofense Phishing Defense Center are credential phish. Protect the keys to your kingdom—condition end users to be resilient to credential harvesting attacks with Cofense PhishMe.

Over 91% of credential harvesting attacks bypassed secure email gateways. Remove the blind spot—get visibility of attacks with Cofense Reporter.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence in real time to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers were already defended against these threats well before the time of this blog posting and received further information in the Active Threat Report 37144.

Quickly turn user-reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about the REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.
The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.

This Employee Satisfaction Survey is Not so Satisfying… Except for the Credential Phishing Actors Behind It.

By Max Gannon, Dylan Duncan in Cofense Intelligence

Cofense Intelligence has tracked a complex credential phishing operation that evades Microsoft Office 365, Cisco Ironport and Mimecast Secure Email Gateways and has been active since at least December 2019—a very long time for an active credential phishing campaign. The use of a series of convincing tactics suggests that threat actors have taken great effort to create an air of authenticity for targeted recipients. Targeted users receive an email, supposedly from their HR departments, mandating that they complete a SurveyMonkey employee satisfaction survey. The convoluted attack chain uses trusted sources and eventually redirects to a real SurveyMonkey survey, allowing the threat actors to evade detection, and provides recipients with the end results that they expect – a real survey.

This credential phishing chain begins with an email (Figure 1) containing a link to a PDF hosted on the legitimate cloud service provider Hightail. The email itself contains multiple tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to deceive the end user. These TTPs consist of a seemingly legitimate Hightail spoofed email address ‘delivery @ spaces[.]hightailmail[.]com,’ fronting as a target’s HR department. The email creates a sense of urgency, indicating the survey is mandatory, requires action, only takes a few moments to complete, and will benefit the targeted employee.

Figure 1: Example of one original email sent to targeted recipients

After following the link to Hightail, a PDF is downloaded (Figure 2). Within the PDF, the from, subject, and message fields match the email line-for-line. The URLs for Hightail contain the recipient’s email address encoded in the URL path, and with the page hosted by the threat actor, these collected URLs could be decoded to gather the email address before they access the PDF. Hightail provides a preview of the PDF before downloading (Figure 3), which shows a faded survey and an icon that appears to lead into the survey.

Figure 2: The Hightail web page hosting a PDF that recipients are encouraged to download

Figure 3: A preview of the PDF hosted on Hightail, encouraging the user to participate in the “mandatory” survey

Once the PDF has been downloaded, a ‘Take Survey’ icon links to one of many credential phishing URLs used in this scheme. As displayed in Figure 4 below, the phishing URLs often change with each different PDF, but continue to remain consistent with the theme of an HR Department survey.

Examples include:

  • hxxps://hrsurveyportal[.]work/Start/
  • hxxps://my[.]hr-portalsurvey[.]work/

A complete list of identified URLs was used in different PDFs and is included at the end of this document in Table 2. This kind of differentiation allows the threat actors to maintain an appearance of legitimacy in their phishing URLs, while making it more difficult to defend against these attacks by shunning previously used or shared URLs.

Figure 4: PDF with an embedded link to a credential phishing website

This credential phishing campaign, and its variants, have been operating since at least December 5th, 2019. In most of these identified campaigns, the credential phishing pages were the same spoofed “Norton Secured” page, seen in Figure 5, regardless of the URL or the original target company. Older campaigns, primarily seen in December and January, mostly used appspot[.]com sub-domains rather than HR department themed domains and all led to pages like the one shown in Figure 6.

Figure 5: Spoofed login page where credentials are harvested

Figure 6: A less convincing example of a credential phishing page identified in this broader campaign.

When a recipient enters his or her information in any of the credential phishing websites, the data is sent via an HTTP POST to the URL shown in Figure 7. This is most commonly hxxps://nortonsymantecssl[.]000webhostapp[.]com/vlog/. Much like the hrsurvey[.]work URL variants designed to provide an additional sense of legitimacy, this URL also spoofs “Norton Secured”. Recipients are then immediately sent to the SurveyMonkey survey shown in Figure 8.

Figure 7: Credential phishing page source with the highlighted URL where credentials are posted and recipients are redirected.

Figure 8: The final SurveyMonkey survey

The SurveyMonkey survey shown in Figure 8 is of particular importance. First, this survey link is either legitimate and has been repurposed by threat actors, or threat actors themselves went to the effort to create it. Either way, the detail and effort involved in the survey indicates the possible intent of the threat actors to use the survey as a long-term resource across multiple short-lived credential phishing pages. Secondly, this survey leads targeted recipients to a credible conclusion—ending the attack chain in a way that would not leave recipients suspecting that anything suspicious had happened. Many credential phishing campaigns end by redirecting a user to a generic page or displaying a login error message, which can cause users to stop and consider potentially harmful activity that had occurred, leading them to warn others or report the original email. By avoiding such suspicious signposts, the threat actors can further protect their infrastructure and avoid detection.

This campaign presented a convincing impersonation of an HR department delivering a mandatory survey to its employees. The final destination of the chain was a survey hosted on SurveyMonkey—leading recipients to believe that nothing was wrong. The choice of the campaign endpoint—a survey hosted on a well-known legitimate site, rather than an obvious error message or redirect—indicates a level of attention above and beyond what is usually exhibited by credential phishing adversaries. Additionally, custom domains were used to host the credential phishing infrastructure rather than compromised domains, as is often the case with simple credential phishing. Cofense Intelligence assesses that this campaign was carefully designed with long term capability and minimal detection in mind. This has no doubt allowed for the repeated success of this campaign—also quite unusual when it comes to credential phishing.

Hightail Hosted PDF URLs
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/gmaTEP8hhh/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/GvXjcQjRac/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/gWGl9E9QrM/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/hiasiM3Bc4/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/Huh5Kd9ngs/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/N2hZnCrDRr/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/NewA1DfvtL/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/pvHwWmHUxB/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/rlTbN1a1sV/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/wgmOI2E6VF/
hxxp://spaces[.]hightail[.]com/receive/yGDAtZ2Cld/
Credential Phishing Pages URLs
hxxps://hrsurvey[.]work/Home/
hxxps://hrsurvey[.]work/hr/
hxxps://hrsurveyportal[.]work/begin/
hxxps://hrsurveyportal[.]work/secure/
hxxps://hrsurveyportal[.]work/Start/
hxxps://my[.]hr-portalsurvey[.]work/
hxxps://my[.]hrsurveyportal[.]work/
hxxps://my[.]worksurvey[.]work/
hxxps://secure[.]hrsurveyportal[.]work/
hxxps://mwz1552alry[.]appspot[.]com/
Redirect URLs
hxxps://csosun[.]org/administrator/manifests/login[.]php
hxxps://nortonsymantecssl[.]000webhostapp[.]com/vlog/
Hosted Survey URL
hxxps://www[.]surveymonkey[.]com/r/2MHSTQ8
Downloaded PDF Files MD5 Hash
Employee Satisfaction Survey.pdf d61822e79a797356598b6296af360f3e
Employee Satisfaction Survey.pdf b760297ada010198d40f585206e2c769
Description Indicator
Cofense Intelligence ATR ID 36729
Cofense Triage Yara RULE PM_Intel_CredPhish_36729

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

75% of threats reported to the Cofense Phishing Defense Center are credential phish. Condition users to be resilient to credential harvesting attacks with Cofense PhishMe, plus get visibility of attacks that have bypassed controls with Cofense Reporter.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence in real time to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers were already defended against these threats well before the time of this blog posting and received further information in the Active Threat Report 36729.

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.
The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.

Phish Fryday – Phishing and Ransomware in Healthcare

While phishing attacks and ransomware affect all industries, healthcare is particularly vulnerable. Medical equipment running outdated software, limited budgets, and a need to provide lifesaving actions without delay increase cyber risk beyond the confidentiality demands of HIPAA. In this episode, we speak with Gerald Auger, a Security Architect with the Medical University of South Carolina about the challenges the healthcare industry faces.

Mentioned in this episode:

Wood Ranch Medical closes due to ransomware attack

Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices

Questions or comments? Reach us at phishfryday@cofense.com

Cofense Launches COVID-19 Phishing Resource Center, Announces Webinar to Arm Cyber Security Professionals with Actionable Intelligence

LEESBURG, Va. – March 19, 2020 – When a major event or emergency arises, phishing emails exploiting human emotions and global attention are never far behind. To better equip cyber security and security awareness teams with accurate, up to date information related to the recent upsurge in COVID-19 related phishing emails and malware, Cofense® has launched a Coronavirus Phishing Infocenter to help protect organizations and end users during this public health emergency.

The Phishing Resource Center includes:

  • A publicly available YARA rule open to all, consisting of major, actionable indicators Cofense has identified for COVID-19 phishing emails and related malware, sourced from Cofense IntelligenceTM, proprietary data collection sources and the Cofense Phishing Defense Center®;
  • An infographic outlining the top signs that may signal a Coronavirus email is a phish;
  • Expert recommendations via our blogs and podcast for organizations considering cyber security measures and phishing simulation programs during this confusing time;
  • Real examples of COVID-19 phishing emails in multiple languages that have evaded email security controls – captured by Cofense analysts and Cofense-powered humans;
  • Aggregated articles from authoritative sources about COVID-19 phishing to help companies and individuals alike avoid misinformation and better understand phishing scams in the context of evolving current events.

The company will also hold a 30 minute discussion-based webinar on March 26, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. EST on the evolving coronavirus threats as well as useful tools and recommendations to combat the escalating volume of email attacks.

“Cofense recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for individuals and organizations alike,” said Aaron Higbee, chief technology officer and co-founder, Cofense. “We strive to share actionable insights and expertise to raise awareness of the ways malicious actors are actively capitalizing on our natural human emotions in response to this public health crisis. We hope this resource center can help cyber security and security awareness teams as they navigate email communications during a time when many organizations and their employees are filled with concern.”

Cofense will continue to regularly update the Coronavirus Phishing Infocenter with the latest information, resources, YARA rules and intelligence to reflect evolutions in the phishing landscape: https://cofense.com/solutions/topic/coronavirus-infocenter/

To register for the informational webcast on March 26, 2020 at 11 a.m. EST, visit: https://cofense.zoom.us/webinar/register/8015843883361/WN_87fnA6bGSw–q2TOISZIdg

###

About Cofense
Cofense®, the leading provider of intelligent phishing defense solutions worldwide, is uniting humanity against phishing. The Cofense suite of products combines timely attack intelligence sourced from employees, with best-in-class incident response technologies to stop attacks faster and stay ahead of breaches. Cofense customers include Global 1000 organizations in defense, energy, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing sectors that understand how changing user behavior will improve security, aid incident response and reduce the risk of compromise. To learn more about Cofense, visit www.cofense.com.

 

Media Contact
press@cofense.com

Threat Actors Innovate to Exploit COVID-19, Delivering OpenOffice .ODP Attachments on a Shoestring Budget

By Tonia Dudley, Cofense Security Solutions

Have you ever paid an invoice delivered in PowerPoint file, similar to Figure 1 below? No? Me neither. An accounts reconciliation aging report? Don’t those typically get sent as a .PDF file so your auditor can ensure you haven’t “adjusted” the report?

Figure 1: Phishing email with fake invoice delivered via an .ODP file, appearing as a .PPT file

We recently uncovered a new, previously unseen tactic used by threat actors eager to capitalize on organizations’ concerns around COVID-19. The threat actors use an OpenOffice file format as an .ODP file, recognized by Microsoft as .PPT file, thus leading unsuspecting users to easily recognize the PowerPoint icon.

But let’s go back to the emails that included this file type. Would you receive an email to process an invoice that used a PowerPoint file for this transaction? It’s no wonder a well-trained user was able to spot this email as suspicious and reported the message to the Cofense Phishing Defense Center.

As we continue to monitor suspicious emails related to COVID-19, both seen in the wild and reported by our customers, we noticed a few interesting tactics used in the email (Figure 2 below) that leverages the OpenOffice format to trick unsuspecting employees into opening the document. The email message is fairly basic and contains some simple phishing indicators. The salutation is generic and an incomplete sentence – “Good morning.” Is this how you punctuate this salutation? Speaking of punctuation – they also used a period after “signing” their name “Donna.” at the end of the email.

When digging into the header information, it was, however, surprising that this email was flagged as “Received-SPF: Fail”. Organizations have spent a great deal of time setting up and configuring DMARC, DKIM and SPF, and the message is delivered to the inbox? We’ll give this organization the benefit of doubt and assume they’re still finetuning and configuring that control.

Yet the most interesting part of this phishing email is the attachment itself – we had never seen an .ODP file type in a phishing email before.

Figure 2: Phishing email delivering an .ODP file masquerading as a COVID-19 preparation guide

In an effort to ensure our customers can detect this new tactic, we wrote a YARA rule to look for any OpenOffice file type. This new search took us back to late January to find the use of the .ODP filetype. It also bubbled up another OpenOffice file type of .ODT, displaying the MS Word icon to the user. In each of these files, the use case for the threat actor was to merely deliver the link to direct to the malicious website.

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

Yara Rule: PM_LABS_OpenOffice_ImpressFiles

For more information and resources about COVID-19 related phish and malware, visit our Infocenter: https://cofense.com/solutions/topic/coronavirus-infocenter/

Every day, the Cofense Phishing Defense Center analyzes phishing emails that bypassed email gateways. 100% of the threats found by the Cofense PDC were identified by the end user. 0% were stopped by technology.

Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

The Cofense® and PhishMe® names and logos, as well as any other Cofense product or service names or logos displayed on this blog are registered trademarks or trademarks of Cofense Inc.