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This Credential Phish Masks the Scam Page URL to Thwart Vigilant Users

October 17, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

By Milo Salvia, Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has observed a phishing campaign that aims to harvest credentials from Stripe, the online payment facilitator handling billions of dollars annually, making it an attractive target for threat actors seeking to use compromised accounts to gain access to payment card information and defraud consumers. The phish prevents email recipients from seeing the destination of an embedded link when they try to hover over the URL. Instead, what they see is a bogus account message. Here’s how the campaign works. Email Body The email pretends to be a notification...

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New Phishing Sextortion Campaign Using Alternative Crypto Currencies to Evade Detection

October 8, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

By Hunter Johnson, Cofense Professional Services  Cofense has observed threat actors employing a modified version of a sextortion scam using alternative crypto currencies to bitcoin. Typical sextortion scams claim to have installed malware on recipients’ systems and recorded their browsing history of adult websites and webcam footage. Ransom is demanded in bitcoin, upon threat of releasing damaging information to family, friends, and co-workers. Because threat actors often get recipients’ emails from password breach lists, they sometimes include passwords to lend authenticity. Early sextortion scams started with a plain text extortion email threating the recipient and asking for payment. As enterprises began...

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Threat Actors Use Percentage-Based URL Encoding to Bypass Email Gateways

September 25, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Cyber Incident Response

Last week, the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM observed phishing threat actors using low-level trickery to avoid detection, by utilizing basic percentage-based URL encoding. This takes advantage of Google’s nifty ability to decode the encoded URL data on the fly. The easiest way to trick a secure email gateway (SEG) is hiding the true destination of the payload. Here’s how it works: Figure 1: email body The phishing email is simple and originates from a compromised email account of a relatively well-known American brand, informing recipients that they have a new invoice awaiting payment. The email body has an embedded hyperlink...

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Rethinking Security Awareness? Fine-Tune Your Simulations

September 20, 2019 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 2 of 2 In part 1 of this short series, we gave tips on re-energizing a mature security awareness program. We noted the importance of reassessing your organization’s risk profile and communicating with users as you educate them on phishing. For part 2, let’s look at anti-phishing through the lens of simulated threats. How to Refocus Your Phishing Simulations If you manage a security awareness program, you need to educate users on phishing emails that land in their inboxes—active threats like malware, business email compromise (BEC), or sextortion. This means talking to your SOC to understand the threats your...

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Emotet Malicious Phishing Campaigns Return in Force

September 18, 2019 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Alan Rainer and Max Gannon The infamous malware family Emotet—also known as Geodo—has fully resurfaced and resumed sending phishing campaigns that trick users into clicking on links and downloading attachments that contain malicious macros. Many of the emails feature common financial themes that capitalize on an existing reply chain or contact list impersonation. In most cases, subjects for these phishing emails are rather mundane, such as “RE: Re: Contract/Invoice Count” and “Customer Statement 09/16/2019”, with attachments that use Microsoft Office macros to install malware. Upon installation of the Emotet executable, the banking Trojan TrickBot may be placed onto the...

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New Phishing Campaign Targets U.S. Taxpayers by Dropping Amadey Botnet

September 17, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Internet Security AwarenessThreat Intelligence

The Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM  has detected a new wave of attacks targeting the US taxpayer by delivering Amadey botnet via phishing emails. Amadey is a relatively new botnet, first noted late in Q1 of 2019. Known for its simplicity, it is available to hire for a very steep price compared to other commercially available botnets with similar functionality. Threat groups like TA505 have been known to leverage Amadey botnet as recently as July 2019 to deliver secondary malware like FlawedAmmy (RAT) and email stealers. Here’s how a typical attack works: Figure 1: Infection chain Figure 2: Email Body The email body reports...

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Healthcare’s Getting Smacked by Phishing. These Resources Can Help.

September 13, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing

This summer, phishing attacks continued to hammer healthcare. Florida: Compromised email accounts, at last count 73, were used to send a phish which led to a breach at NCH Healthcare.1 Ohio: Eye Care Associates was hit with ransomware. The regional eye care provider’s systems were locked for several weeks. 2 New York: In the biggest healthcare breach so far in 2019, American Medical Collection Agency was breached to the tune of 25 million patient records. While phishing hasn’t been positively identified as the culprit, it’s high on the suspect list.3 Need Phishing Defense Resources? Start Here. To help healthcare companies...

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Astaroth Uses Facebook and YouTube within Infection Chain

September 11, 2019 by Aaron Riley in Threat Intelligence

  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.

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New Phishing Campaign Uses Captcha to Bypass Email Gateway

September 9, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident Response

By Fabio Rodrigues Phishing threat actors are using Captcha methods to bypass automated URL analysis. By using Captcha techniques to prove human presence, the phish prevents the secure email gateway (SEG), in this case Mimecast’s gateway, from scanning the URL thereby enabling the threat to get through. Here’s how it works. Email Body The phishing email is sent from a compromised account at @avis.ne.jp as if it originated from a voip2mail service. The email alerts the recipient to a new voicemail message. The message is crafted in a simple format, with a preview of the voicemail to entice the recipient...

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Phishing Awareness Program?

September 6, 2019 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 1 of 2 As seen in Cofense’sTM 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review, threat actors innovate relentlessly. Technologies like secure email gateways (SEGs) can’t keep up. In fact, the vast majority of phishing emails verified by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM are found in environments using SEGs. With so many malicious emails making it past security controls, the human factor becomes decisive. This means your phishing awareness program needs to stay in fighting trim. In particular, it’s important to educate users on attacks that breach your perimeter, working with your SOC to focus on the most frequent threats. If...

READ MORE

Threat Actors Use Percentage-Based URL Encoding to Bypass Email Gateways

September 25, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Cyber Incident Response

Last week, the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM observed phishing threat actors using low-level trickery to avoid detection, by utilizing basic percentage-based URL encoding. This takes advantage of Google’s nifty ability to decode the encoded URL data on the fly. The easiest way to trick a secure email gateway (SEG) is hiding the true destination of the payload. Here’s how it works: Figure 1: email body The phishing email is simple and originates from a compromised email account of a relatively well-known American brand, informing recipients that they have a new invoice awaiting payment. The email body has an embedded hyperlink...

READ MORE

Emotet Malicious Phishing Campaigns Return in Force

September 18, 2019 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Alan Rainer and Max Gannon The infamous malware family Emotet—also known as Geodo—has fully resurfaced and resumed sending phishing campaigns that trick users into clicking on links and downloading attachments that contain malicious macros. Many of the emails feature common financial themes that capitalize on an existing reply chain or contact list impersonation. In most cases, subjects for these phishing emails are rather mundane, such as “RE: Re: Contract/Invoice Count” and “Customer Statement 09/16/2019”, with attachments that use Microsoft Office macros to install malware. Upon installation of the Emotet executable, the banking Trojan TrickBot may be placed onto the...

READ MORE

New Phishing Campaign Targets U.S. Taxpayers by Dropping Amadey Botnet

September 17, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Internet Security AwarenessThreat Intelligence

The Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM  has detected a new wave of attacks targeting the US taxpayer by delivering Amadey botnet via phishing emails. Amadey is a relatively new botnet, first noted late in Q1 of 2019. Known for its simplicity, it is available to hire for a very steep price compared to other commercially available botnets with similar functionality. Threat groups like TA505 have been known to leverage Amadey botnet as recently as July 2019 to deliver secondary malware like FlawedAmmy (RAT) and email stealers. Here’s how a typical attack works: Figure 1: Infection chain Figure 2: Email Body The email body reports...

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Astaroth Uses Facebook and YouTube within Infection Chain

September 11, 2019 by Aaron Riley in Threat Intelligence

  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.

READ MORE

New Phishing Campaign Uses Captcha to Bypass Email Gateway

September 9, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident Response

By Fabio Rodrigues Phishing threat actors are using Captcha methods to bypass automated URL analysis. By using Captcha techniques to prove human presence, the phish prevents the secure email gateway (SEG), in this case Mimecast’s gateway, from scanning the URL thereby enabling the threat to get through. Here’s how it works. Email Body The phishing email is sent from a compromised account at @avis.ne.jp as if it originated from a voip2mail service. The email alerts the recipient to a new voicemail message. The message is crafted in a simple format, with a preview of the voicemail to entice the recipient...

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Phishing Emails Are Using SharePoint to Slip Past Symantec’s Gateway and Attack Banks

September 3, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Cyber Incident Response

Hiding in plain sight by using trusted enterprise technologies almost guarantees delivery of a phishing URL. Case in point: a phishing campaign that delivered a legitimate Sharepoint URL to bypass the email gateway, in this case Symantec’s. Here’s how this increasingly popular phishing tactic works. Email Body The phishing email is sent from a compromised account at a third-party vendor asking the recipient to review a proposal document. The recipient is urged to click on an embedded URL. As seen below in figure 1, the URL has been wrapped by Symantec’s Click-time URL Protection and redirects the recipient to a...

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Trickbot Is Using Google Docs to Trick Proofpoint’s Gateway

August 29, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Tej Tulachan The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has detected a phishing campaign that delivers Trickbot embedded in a Google Docs link. Trickbot has been making the rounds for a long time now and is still considered one of the biggest malware threats targeting business today. Threat actors frequently utilize legitimate applications or trusted file sharing sites like Google Docs to bypass the email gateway and lure users to click on the link to deliver malware. In this case, the email made it through Proofpoint’s gateway utilized by our PDC customer. Email Body The email attempts to lure curious...

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Advanced Phishing Campaign Delivers Quasar RAT

August 26, 2019 by Max Gannon in Threat Intelligence

Cofense IntelligenceTM has uncovered an advanced campaign that uses multiple anti-analysis methods to deliver Quasar Remote Access Tool (RAT). A phishing email poses as a job seeker and uses the unsophisticated ploy of an attached resume to deliver the malware. Quasar RAT is freely available as an open-source tool on public repositories and provides a number of capabilities. Organizations find a higher degree of difficulty with the ‘.doc’ file attachment distributing Quasar RAT itself, because the document employs a multitude of measures to deter detection. Such methods include password protection—which is a built-in feature of Microsoft Word—and encoded macros. Along...

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New Phishing Campaign Bypasses Microsoft ATP to Deliver Adwind to Utilities Industry

August 19, 2019 by Milo Salvia in PhishingThreat Intelligence

The CofenseTM Phishing Defense CenterTM has observed a new phishing campaign that spoofs a PDF attachment to deliver the notorious Adwind malware. This campaign was found explicitly in national grid utilities infrastructure. Adwind, aka JRAT or SockRat, is sold as a malware-as-a-service where users can purchase access to the software for a small subscription-based fee. The malware boasts the following features: Takes screen shots Harvests credentials from Chrome, IE and Edge Accesses the webcam, record video and take photos Records audio from the microphone Transfers files Collects general system and user information Steals VPN certificates Serves as a Key Logger Email Body Fig1. Email Body...

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Remote Access Trojan Uses Sendgrid to Slip through Proofpoint

August 14, 2019 by Marcel Feller in Phishing Defense Center

The CofenseTM Phishing Defense CenterTM observed a malware campaign masquerading as an email complaint from the Better Business Bureau to deliver the notorious Orcus RAT, part of the free DNS domain ChickenKiller which we blogged about in 2015. Here’s how it works:

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New Phishing Campaign Targets U.S. Taxpayers by Dropping Amadey Botnet

September 17, 2019 by Milo Salvia in Internet Security AwarenessThreat Intelligence

The Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM  has detected a new wave of attacks targeting the US taxpayer by delivering Amadey botnet via phishing emails. Amadey is a relatively new botnet, first noted late in Q1 of 2019. Known for its simplicity, it is available to hire for a very steep price compared to other commercially available botnets with similar functionality. Threat groups like TA505 have been known to leverage Amadey botnet as recently as July 2019 to deliver secondary malware like FlawedAmmy (RAT) and email stealers. Here’s how a typical attack works: Figure 1: Infection chain Figure 2: Email Body The email body reports...

READ MORE

Healthcare’s Getting Smacked by Phishing. These Resources Can Help.

September 13, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing

This summer, phishing attacks continued to hammer healthcare. Florida: Compromised email accounts, at last count 73, were used to send a phish which led to a breach at NCH Healthcare.1 Ohio: Eye Care Associates was hit with ransomware. The regional eye care provider’s systems were locked for several weeks. 2 New York: In the biggest healthcare breach so far in 2019, American Medical Collection Agency was breached to the tune of 25 million patient records. While phishing hasn’t been positively identified as the culprit, it’s high on the suspect list.3 Need Phishing Defense Resources? Start Here. To help healthcare companies...

READ MORE

Is It Time to Rethink Your Phishing Awareness Program?

September 6, 2019 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 1 of 2 As seen in Cofense’sTM 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review, threat actors innovate relentlessly. Technologies like secure email gateways (SEGs) can’t keep up. In fact, the vast majority of phishing emails verified by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM are found in environments using SEGs. With so many malicious emails making it past security controls, the human factor becomes decisive. This means your phishing awareness program needs to stay in fighting trim. In particular, it’s important to educate users on attacks that breach your perimeter, working with your SOC to focus on the most frequent threats. If...

READ MORE

Why Join Us at Cofense Submerge? Here’s What Attendees Say

August 20, 2019 by Tonia Dudley in Internet Security Awareness

Next month in Orlando we’ll be hosting CofenseTM Submerge 2019, our fourth annual user conference and phishing defense summit. As we wrap up each event, we ask attendees for feedback. What did they like best? Networking and hearing other customers’ experiences are always the top responses. As a former customer who now works at Cofense, I totally agree.    Here are some of the answers we heard last year when we asked, “Why attend Submerge?”  “Sharing ideas was tremendously helpful to me—having the opportunity to meet other people from a variety of industries doing the same thing that I do.”  We’re all on this journey...

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New Phishing Campaign Bypasses Microsoft ATP to Deliver Adwind to Utilities Industry

August 19, 2019 by Milo Salvia in PhishingThreat Intelligence

The CofenseTM Phishing Defense CenterTM has observed a new phishing campaign that spoofs a PDF attachment to deliver the notorious Adwind malware. This campaign was found explicitly in national grid utilities infrastructure. Adwind, aka JRAT or SockRat, is sold as a malware-as-a-service where users can purchase access to the software for a small subscription-based fee. The malware boasts the following features: Takes screen shots Harvests credentials from Chrome, IE and Edge Accesses the webcam, record video and take photos Records audio from the microphone Transfers files Collects general system and user information Steals VPN certificates Serves as a Key Logger Email Body Fig1. Email Body...

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Phishing Campaigns Imitating CEOs Bypass Microsoft Gateway to Target Energy Sector

August 13, 2019 by Aaron Riley in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

Cofense Intelligence™ has identified a highly customized credential phishing campaign using Google Drive to target a company within the energy sector. This phishing campaign is crafted to look like the CEO of the targeted company has shared an important message with the recipient via Google Drive. The email is legitimately sent by Google Drive to employees and appears to be shared on behalf of the CEO by an email address that does not fit the email naming convention of the targeted company. By using an authentic service, this phishing campaign was able to bypass the email security stack, in particular...

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TrickBot Adds ‘Cookie Grabber’ Information Stealing Module

August 8, 2019 by Aaron Riley in PhishingThreat Intelligence

Cofense Intelligence™ has identified a new credential information stealing module for the TrickBot banking trojan being used to gather web browser cookie data. Previous versions of TrickBot allowed for minimal web browser data theft; however, this ability was within the main functionality of the trojan platform and not a stand-alone module as it is now. This new module, dubbed ‘Cookie Grabber,’ has an added feature that allows for further control and manipulation of the victim’s host. TrickBot is a modular banking trojan that targets financial information within an infected host. The threat actors behind TrickBot are always re-tooling and adapting...

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This Phish Uses DocuSign to Slip Past Symantec Gateway and Target Email Credentials

August 7, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing

By Tej Tulachan The Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM has observed a new wave of phishing attacks masquerading as an email from DocuSign to target the credentials of all major email providers. DocuSign is an electronic signature technology that facilitates exchanges of contracts, tax documents, and legal materials. Threat actors utilize this legitimate application to bypass the email gateway and entice users into handing out their credentials. Here’s how it works. Email Body At first glance, the email body looks well-presented with the correct DocuSign logo and its content. However, there is something suspicious within the first line of the message—the...

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Threat Actors Subscribe To Patches

July 29, 2019 by Max Gannon in PhishingThreat Intelligence

Cofense IntelligenceTM has analyzed a relatively new malware known as Alpha Keylogger, which appears to be part of a growing trend among threat actors to use subscription-based malware that doesn’t deliver on its original promises. Part of the reason behind this trend is that threat actors are more frequently releasing malware builders that are incomplete and still under development, then charging users a subscription fee to have the builder updated with a “patch.” This practice has become increasingly common with enterprise software as well as video games, so it is not surprising to see the trend in the criminal underworld....

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Cofense Vision UI: Quarantine Phish Faster, Without Disrupting the Mail Team

July 25, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

By Karen Kokiko The holy grail of phishing defense is now within your grasp. Cofense VisionTM now comes with a user interface that lets you quarantine phishing emails with a single click—without disrupting the mail team and slowing down your response. Let’s stop and let that sink in. You can quarantine phish right from your desktop, without asking the busy mail team to stop and perform a search. There’s no more waiting while an active phish does the backstroke in your inboxes. Faster, more precise phishing response is here. Fast and Flexible Searching Traditional email search and quarantine tools are...

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Got a Blockchain Wallet? Be Alert for These Phishing Emails

May 22, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Tej Tulachan and Milo Salvia The CofenseTM Phishing Defense Center™ has seen a fresh wave of attacks targeting Blockchain wallet users. The attacks aim to steal all the information needed to hijack unsuspecting victims’ wallets and syphon off their hard-earned crypto gains. In the past week, we have detected more than 180 of these malicious emails, all reported by customers’ users. Here’s how the phishing emails work. Red Flag #1: ‘You Have Been Chosen.’ In the message below, we can see that the victim has been “selected to receive” a $50 dollar amount of  Stellar (XLM), an up and coming...

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Jigsaw Ransomware Returns With Extortion Scam Ploys

January 23, 2019 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Lucas Ashbaugh Want to play a game? Jigsaw ransomware does, and it’s going to run you $400… or you could just download the free decrypter online. Jigsaw, featuring Billy The Puppet from Saw, was first released in 2016. It not only encrypts the victim’s files but deletes them at a continuously increasing rate until a payment in bitcoin can be confirmed against the bitcoin blockchain. Now, Jigsaw has been observed again, this time delivered through scam tactics. The Delivery Each email starts off with a ploy about how the threat actor somehow compromised the victim’s financial accounts. After shocking and...

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Threats of Terror Pervade Recent Extortion Phishing Campaigns

December 20, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Lucas Ashbaugh “There is an explosive device (tronitrotoluene) in the building where your business is conducted […] there will be many victims if it explodes”

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Re: The Zombie Phish

October 31, 2018 by Cofense in Malware AnalysisPhishing Defense CenterThreat Intelligence

By: Lucas Ashbaugh, Nick Guarino, Max Gannon Out of nowhere, someone responds to an email conversation that wrapped up months ago. It’s a real conversation that actually happened. Maybe it’s about a meeting, a job opportunity, or a reply to that problem you had over a year ago; this email is highly relevant to you. But something is off, the topic of the email is months out of date and now there is a weird error message. This is a devious tactic, reviving an email conversation long dead – it’s the Zombie Phish. Not Your Average Phish The Cofense™ Phishing...

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Email Security Gateway (to Your Next Breach)

October 16, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

BY THE COFENSE PHISHING DEFENSE CENTER Email is the most common attack vector in today’s threat landscape. Not only does email deliver over 92% of malware1, but by the end of 2017 the average user received 16 malicious emails per month.2 Cyber-criminals and APT actors abuse email to deliver malware or steal user credentials and other sensitive data. Because it is ubiquitous, email is an oft-targeted, massive attack surface. Proofpoint and Mimecast Often Can’t Handle Simple Phishing Attacks That’s why companies spend thousands to millions of dollars on security technologies, including secure email gateways. Let’s be clear: it is erroneous...

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We’re Seeing a Resurgence of the Demonic Astaroth WMIC Trojan

September 10, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Jerome Doaty and Garrett Primm The Cofense™ Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has recently defended against a resurgence of Astaroth, with dozens of hits across our customer base in the last week. In just one week, some estimated 8,000 machines have been potentially compromised.

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The Lazy Man’s Guide to Phishing

August 16, 2018 by Cofense in Phishing Defense Center

By Lucas Ashbaugh Laziness and sloppy work are the twenty first century’s newest business model, and for phishing actors it’s a gold rush. The real winners from modern phishing have taken a chapter out of the entrepreneur’s  handbook: The Lean Startup. For them, phishing isn’t about artisanal fraud and refined skills, it’s about starting cheap, failing quickly, and getting their head back in the game. It’s horrendously brilliant. In a world where SOCs are constantly grinding to block that IP, scan for that hash, disable macros, etc., automated solutions just can’t keep up. When it comes to phishing, speed is king....

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An Analyst’s View of Surging PowerShell-based Malware

August 13, 2018 by Marcel Feller in Malware AnalysisPhishing Defense Center

Over the past couple of weeks, the Cofense™ Phishing Defence Center (PDC) has observed a rise in PowerShell-based malware. PowerShell is a very powerful scripting language that is legitimately used in many organisations. PowerShell is packed with almost endless capabilities, most of which are particularly interesting to threat actors who wish to abuse PowerShell for malicious purposes.

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Another Tax-Rebate Phishing Scam, This Time in Canada

August 7, 2018 by Dilen Thakuri in Phishing Defense Center

The CofenseTM Phishing Defense Center has observed a phishing email targeting Canadian taxpayers, similar to HMRC scams we recently reported in the United Kingdom. It’s the latest in a surge of tax-rebate phishing scams seen across the globe, prompting tax-collection agencies to issue consumer warnings.

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Customer Satisfaction Survey Leads to Credential Phishing

July 31, 2018 by Marcel Feller in Phishing Defense Center

The CofenseTM Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has observed a phishing campaign masquerading as a Customer Satisfaction Survey from Cathay Pacific. Fake surveys are an old tactic, but the PDC has recently seen an increase in their use. Examining the following email will show you what to look out for. At first look, the email appears to be a legitimate Satisfaction Survey. It is not uncommon to receive a reward for completing a survey, so that alone is not an Indicator of Phishing (IoP). However, as shown in Figure 1, the “Click here – Participate and Win” link feels out of...

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