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Cofense Blog

STAY CURRENT ON INDUSTRY TRENDS & COFENSE NEWS

Want to simulate a holiday phish? This one’s from your friends at Emotet.

December 23, 2019 by Cofense in Cofense SolutionsPhishing

By Tonia Dudley Tis the season when organizations are looking to send out the year’s last phishing simulation. Often the Security Awareness team lands on a holiday theme – holiday party, holiday raffle, or even the fun ugly sweater lure. In the past, when I worked with teams to advance their phishing defense programs, I would recommend staying away from holiday themed scenarios. I’ll explain why in a moment. But my opinion has changed, thanks to the threat actors behind Emotet.

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5 Cybersecurity Trends that Will Dominate 2020

December 20, 2019 by Aaron Higbee in PhishingThreat Intelligence

By Aaron Higbee, CTO, Cofense The threat landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with new threat vectors emerging and increasing in sophistication. Which ones should you watch most closely as 2020 unfolds? Based on insights collected from our Cofense research teams, here are five trends we see dominating next year. Ransomware will continue becoming more targeted to reap more sizeable payouts. Many people are under the impression that ransomware is slowing down, but in reality it’s simply being used in a more targeted fashion. So many private and public organizations, as well as government entities, have been infiltrated...

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Bundle Up and Build an End-to-End Phishing Defense

December 2, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

By David Mount, Product Marketing Back in 2008, CofenseTM (then PhishMe®) pioneered the concept of phishing simulation as a tool to reduce organizational risk to phishing threats. Since then, the phishing threat landscape has evolved at a rapid pace, as evidenced in many of the posts on this blog. Back then, traditional approaches to Security Awareness didn’t (and still don’t) demonstrably and measurably improve security posture, especially relating to phishing threats. And, as we’ve mentioned before (and we highlight in this blog), every threat identified by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM has bypassed the technical controls like Secure Email Gateways...

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Quit Faking It—Train Your Users to Stop Real Phish

November 15, 2019 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessPhishing

By Tonia Dudley CofenseTM was the pioneer of phishing simulation as a training method to defend against phishing incidents. We’ve evolved our products and methodology as we understand that real phish are the real problem. What has also evolved over time is the depth of our scenario templates—when threat actors shift to use a new tactic to make their way past the secure email gateway (SEG), Cofense is able to quickly offer a scenario based on that tactic. When we say, “Real phish are the real problem” we mean organizations should set their phishing defense strategy from end to end....

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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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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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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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Bundle Up and Build an End-to-End Phishing Defense

December 2, 2019 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponsePhishing

By David Mount, Product Marketing Back in 2008, CofenseTM (then PhishMe®) pioneered the concept of phishing simulation as a tool to reduce organizational risk to phishing threats. Since then, the phishing threat landscape has evolved at a rapid pace, as evidenced in many of the posts on this blog. Back then, traditional approaches to Security Awareness didn’t (and still don’t) demonstrably and measurably improve security posture, especially relating to phishing threats. And, as we’ve mentioned before (and we highlight in this blog), every threat identified by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM has bypassed the technical controls like Secure Email Gateways...

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Quit Faking It—Train Your Users to Stop Real Phish

November 15, 2019 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessPhishing

By Tonia Dudley CofenseTM was the pioneer of phishing simulation as a training method to defend against phishing incidents. We’ve evolved our products and methodology as we understand that real phish are the real problem. What has also evolved over time is the depth of our scenario templates—when threat actors shift to use a new tactic to make their way past the secure email gateway (SEG), Cofense is able to quickly offer a scenario based on that tactic. When we say, “Real phish are the real problem” we mean organizations should set their phishing defense strategy from end to end....

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Cofense Labs Has Identified a Sextortion Botnet in the Wild – and it’s Growing

November 14, 2019 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessPhishing

By Tonia Dudley, Cofense Security Solutions Every day, CofenseTM threat analysts and researchers monitor phishing and cyber security threats in the wild. In June of 2019, our researchers uncovered a sextortion botnet that contained a list of 200 million email addresses. Read the original announcement here. That database has since grown to over 330 million email addresses. We have also identified an increase in the number of unique web domains being targeted by the botnet. When we released our original findings, the database had close to 6 million unique domains. That total has grown to 7.4 million unique domains. To...

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New Credential Phish Targets Employees with Salary Increase Scam

October 31, 2019 by Cofense in Cisco IronPortCyber Incident ResponsePhishingProofpointSEG Misses

By Milo Salvia, Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has observed a new phishing campaign that aims to harvest Office365 (O365) credentials by preying on employees who are expecting salary increases. The threat actors use a basic spoofing technique to trick employees into thinking that their company’s HR department has shared a salary increase spread sheet. Here’s how it works: Email Body Figure 1: Email Body The threat actor attempts to make the email appear to come from the target company by manipulating the “from” field in the headers. In particular, the threat actor changes the...

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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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A Very Convincing Tax-Rebate Phishing Campaign Is Targeting UK Users

July 19, 2018 by Milo Salvia in Phishing Defense Center

The Cofense™ Phishing Defence Center has observed a convincing new phishing campaign targeting taxpaying UK nationals. The threat actors posing as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have imitated the Government Gateway tool which is commonly used by UK citizens to access government services online. The threat actor attempts to convince victims that they are due a tax rebate of £458.21 using the lure below.

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This “Man in the Inbox” Phishing Attack Highlights a Concerning Gap in Perimeter Technology Defenses

July 18, 2018 by Nick Guarino in Phishing Defense Center

“Man in the Inbox” phishing attacks come from compromised email accounts. They look like someone from within a business, for example the HR director, sent an email directing employees to do something legitimate—like logging onto a fabricated page to read and agree to a corporate policy. When employees log on, the attackers harvest their credentials. These attacks are yet another example of increasingly sophisticated credential phishing.  

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Attackers Use a Bag of Tricks to Target Greek Banking Customers

June 27, 2018 by Milo Salvia in Phishing Defense Center

Recently, the Cofense™ Phishing Defense Center has observed a phishing campaign targeting Greek-speaking users and customers of Alpha Bank. Alpha Bank is the fourth-largest Greek bank. We observed threat actors using multiple tactics to gain login credentials which include user names, passwords, and secret questions. This information would allow threat actors to access unsuspecting victims’ accounts draining funds and perhaps reusing those credentials on other websites.

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Another Global Phishing Campaign Distributes Malware Via Fake Invoices

June 25, 2018 by Marcel Feller in Phishing Defense Center

On Thursday June 14th, the Cofense™ Phishing Defense Center (PDC) noted a campaign targeting UK customers with several emails containing the same subject, “Invoice INV-03056,” and prompting the user to view a supposed invoice. The next day, we saw a very similar campaign that delivered French language phishing emails. Upon analyzing the emails, the PDC notified customers that received them, so they could respond as needed. We also notified all our UK customers of the IOC’s.

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We Helped a Customer Block this Open Directory Phishing Attack

June 1, 2018 by Chance Caldwell in Phishing Defense Center

On May 22, 2018, the Cofense Phishing Defense Center observed a Microsoft credential phishing attack that was received by one of our Managed Service customers. The Phishing Defense Center’s goal is to provide our customers all the relevant information on an attack against their employees, within an hour of an email being reported, so customers can take the necessary steps to prevent further attacks. By doing a deep dive investigation into this attack we were able to find multiple other phishing attacks listed on the site, the kits used to create the phishing pages, and several other domains created by...

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Hackers Analyse Your Capabilities. Use this Matrix to Do the Same

May 16, 2018 by David Mount in Phishing Defense Center

Regular followers of Cofense™ know that phishing threats evolve. For detailed evidence, read the Cofense Malware Review 2018 and see the techniques threat actors employ to keep security teams on their toes.

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Russian “Troldesh” AKA Encoder.858 or Shade is back!

April 27, 2018 by Dilen Thakuri in Cyber Incident ResponseInternet Security AwarenessMalware AnalysisPhishing Defense Center

On the 19th of April, the Cofense Phishing Defense Center received an email crafted to appear to be from “Sberbank Russia.” In fact, it was a phishing email containing the Troldesh malware, a variant of Russian Ransomware first seen in mid-2015. The PDC hadn’t seen this variant for quite some time.

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5 ways we boost your anti-phishing program’s ROI.

April 25, 2018 by Zach Lewis in Cyber Incident ResponseInternet Security AwarenessPhishing Defense Center

If you’re shopping for a vendor to help with phishing awareness training, you might be thinking, “They all seem pretty similar. What’s the difference?”

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How to Avoid Drowning in Spam and Phishing Emails

April 23, 2018 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponseInternet Security AwarenessPhishing Defense Center

As we have continued to improve anti-phishing capabilities for clients over the past few years, we have seen a myriad of changes in phishing email composition, style, and approach. Throughout all those changes however, one thing has remained the same.

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