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Cofense Phishing Prevention & Email Security Blog

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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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New TrickBot Phishing Lure: Mistake or Experiment?

July 17, 2018 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

Cofense Intelligence™ recently identified a TrickBot campaign that was noteworthy not for its exceptional guile or novel technique, but rather for its lack thereof. Absent any images or convincing textual narrative, the campaign lacks all the hallmarks of this TrickBot distribution group’s modus operandi.

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Data to Dollars: “Value at Risk” Anti-Phishing Strategies

July 16, 2018 by Zach Lewis in Internet Security Awareness

Part 2 of 3 Last week,  we looked at the concept of “value at risk” (VAR) and how it applies to anti-phishing. This week let’s do a deep-dive into the “value” aspect of VAR. We’ll ask: do you know where your crown-jewel data is stored and how much it might be worth? Even if the answer is “Not exactly,” an educated guess can help set anti-phishing priorities.

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This Amazon Prime Day, Keep Your Network Safe from Phishing

July 12, 2018 by Josh Bartolomie in Internet Security Awareness

Unfortunately, with the world we live in, especially with any type of highly visible promotions or sales, scammers will try to take advantage of the situation. Remember last year’s Amazon Prime Day phishing scam? Consumers around the world received an email promising a $50 bonus for writing a product review, or an email stating there was a problem with their payment method or shipping information. When they clicked on an embedded link, they went to a bogus login page designed to harvest their credentials.

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Turning a blind eye: How end-users and NLP AI are being tricked by clever phishing techniques like ZeroFont

July 11, 2018 by Jason Meurer in Malware Analysis

Overview Recently, an older email security detection bypass method was seen being used to successfully surpass Microsoft’s spam and phishing filters. This technique described above makes use of two methods and was dubbed “ZeroFont Phishing” by Avanan. ZeroFont Phishing is the method when attackers insert random strings within keywords or phrases that many artificially intelligent systems use to identify malicious or suspicious content.  When these strings are placed within the HTML span tags mixed with setting the font-size attribute to zero, they become invisible to the end user, but  simultaneously appear to neuter the ability of existing Natural Language Processing...

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“Value at Risk”: Focus Your Anti-Phishing on the Bottom Line

July 10, 2018 by Cofense in Internet Security Awareness

Part 1 of 3: Over the past year at Cofense, we’ve introduced and discussed the importance of elevating the visibility of anti-phishing programs to the Board of Directors level. The key measures we presented included a measure of capability we refer to as ‘resilience’ and enumeration of which specific attacks your organization may be facing. As a result, the questions we are now answering for board members globally are – “What phishing threats do you need to be the most concerned with?” “How likely are you to stop those specific attacks in progress?” In the same time frame, the World...

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AZORult Malware Finds a New Ride with Recent Stealer Phishing Campaign

July 9, 2018 by Aaron Riley in Threat Intelligence

Cofense Intelligence™ has uncovered a recent AZORult stealer phishing campaign that delivers the malware via malicious attachments. Older versions of AZORult stealer have been delivered via intermediary loaders, typically Seamless or Rammnit malware. In this latest campaign, the attached documents use multiple techniques to download and execute an AZORult sample, indicating a shift by the threat actors behind the campaign to adopt more evasive delivery techniques.

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Geodo Malware Targets Patriots with Phishing Attack on Eve of American Independence Day Holiday

July 3, 2018 by Cofense in Threat Intelligence

By Brendan Griffin and Max Gannon A classic phishing technique involves timing attacks to match major holidays and other global and regional events. One example of this scenario in a phishing attack captured by Cofense Intelligence™ delivering the Geodo botnet malware on July 3, 2018. In this attack the threat actor appeals to the patriotic nature of the Fourth of July holiday and recipients’ sense of patriotism in its content. In these messages, the attacker reminds the recipient of the sacrifices of American service member as part of a narrative designed to entice victims to click on the link in...

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Build Phishing Countermeasures to Protect Your Brand

May 22, 2013 by Cofense in PhishingThreat Intelligence

Corporations fight phishing each and every day. Large and recognizable financial institutions, retail companies, internet service providers/telecommunication companies are among those most heavily targeted victims of phishing. While the aftermath of a phishing attack is costly and yields long-term consequences, it’s quite difficult to keep up with cybercriminals. It’s shockingly easy for cybercriminals to create a phishing site targeted at your brand, so easy that the cybercriminal simply needs to unpack and upload a pre-built “phishing kit” in order to create a new phishing website. Just one phishing kit can produce hundreds of phishing URLs. With just a few clicks...

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Defining a Sophisticated Attack

March 18, 2013 by Aaron Higbee in Internet Security AwarenessThreat Intelligence

What do nearly all of the recent high-profile data breaches have in common? They have all been traced to sophisticated threats and cyber criminals. While there are many disagreements in the security industry, after every significant breach nearly everyone agrees that it was sophisticated (Twitter, Apple, and the Department of Energy are some of the unfortunate organizations to be compromised by a sophisticated attack recently). On the surface, it isn’t hard to see why. First, technology vendors need attackers to be super sophisticated, because simple tactics couldn’t circumvent their products, right? For victims of a breach, it is advantageous for...

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What Trend Micro’s research means for organizations

November 29, 2012 by Rohyt Belani in Malware AnalysisPhishingThreat Intelligence

Trend Micro has just published research confirming what we at PhishMe already knew – spear phishing is the top threat to enterprise security. Trend Micro’s report estimates that spear phishing accounts for 91% of targeted attacks, making it the most prevalent method of introducing APT to corporate and government networks. Industry recognition of the severity of the dangers posed by spear phishing is always a positive development, but merely acknowledging the problem doesn’t provide a solution. Fortunately, many of the underlying issues Trend Micro identifies are problems PhishMe is already helping our customers address.

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Machines v/s Humans: Who Do You Think Is More Intelligent?

June 9, 2011 by Cofense in Cyber Incident ResponseThreat Intelligence

As the barrage of security breaches continues, Citigroup is the latest victim. This eWeek article: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Citigroup-Credit-Card-Portal-Breach-Compromises-200000-Customers-461930/ discusses the potential impact of this attack.   One of the commentators brings up the topic of phishing.   Hannigan, the CEO of Q1 labs, rightly points out that  “Security trust means more than just making sure you’re in compliance with regulations,”. On the other hand, some of the quotes, like that from Anup Ghosh, co-founder of Invincea has a blatant technology solution vendor bias. He discounts human intelligence when referring to customers in this quote – “it’s not reasonable to expect them to differentiate...

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Karo Ransomware Raises Stakes for Victims by Threatening to Disclose Private Information

July 13, 2017 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessMalware AnalysisPhishing

A ransomware victim must have a compelling reason to go through the burdensome process of obtaining Bitcoin and paying the ransom. For many victims, the threat of permanently losing access to their files is enough. However, some ransomware authors and criminals seek to push victims harder by raising the stakes even further.

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Threat Actors Continue Abusing Google Docs and Other Cloud Services to Deliver Malware

July 6, 2017 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessMalware AnalysisPhishing

A key part of phishing threat actors’ mission is to create email narratives and leverage malware delivery techniques that reduce the likelihood of detection. By combining compelling social engineering with seemingly benign content, threat actors hope to bypass technical controls and to convince their human victims of a phishing email’s legitimacy. One method with a long history of use is the abuse of Google Docs file sharing URLs to deliver malware content to victims. Because Google Docs and other cloud services may be trusted within an enterprise, threat actors will continue to abuse file sharing services to possibly bypass firewalls...

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Petya-like Ransomware Triggers Global Crisis with Echoes of WannaCry Attack

June 28, 2017 by Cofense in Malware AnalysisInternet Security AwarenessRansomware

For the second time in as many months, networks around the world have been attacked using a worming ransomware that gains new infections by exploiting a recently-patched Windows SMB vulnerability among other proven techniques. What has been described a ransomware bearing significant similarities to the Petya encryption ransomware ravaged numerous companies and networks around the world with disproportionate impact in Ukraine and Eastern Europe but also inflicted harm to significant numbers of victims in Western Europe and North America.

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Threat Actors Leverage CVE 2017-0199 to Deliver Zeus Panda via Smoke Loader

June 22, 2017 by Cofense in Malware AnalysisPhishingPhishing Defense Center

Our Phishing Defense Center identified and responded to attacks leveraging a relatively new Microsoft Office vulnerability during the past few weeks. Last week, the PDC observed threat actors exploiting CVE 2017-0199 to deliver the Smoke Loader malware downloader which in turn was used to deliver the Zeus Panda botnet malware. These emails claim to deliver an invoice for an “outstanding balance” and trick the recipient to opening the attached file. In one instance, we have also seen the malicious attachment being delivered via URL.

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Tracking and Mitigating Zyklon Phishing Using Threat Intelligence and Yara

June 21, 2017 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessMalware AnalysisPhishing

The Zyklon HTTP Botnet malware is a tool that is readily accessible to threat actors in online criminal marketplaces and has been observed in use for various criminal activities. Among its features is the ability to log the keystrokes typed by a victim as well as to collect other private or sensitive information, and one of the most notable uses for Zyklon has been as a downloader and delivery tool for the Cerber encryption ransomware. Over a dozen unique campaigns to deliver this malware have been identified and reported by PhishMe Intelligence and it represents one of the most rapidly-growing...

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Registration is Now Open for PhishMe Submerge 2017 – Phishing Defense Summit and User Conference

June 20, 2017 by Cofense in Phishing

We are thrilled to announce today registration for this year’s PhishMe Submerge™ Phishing Defense Summit and User Conference is live! Last year’s summit was a massive success – you don’t want to miss out on this year’s event.

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SMILE – New PayPal Phish Has Victims Sending Them a Selfie

June 15, 2017 by Cofense in Phishing Defense CenterMalware AnalysisPhishing

Phishing scams masquerading as PayPal are unfortunately commonplace. Most recently, the PhishMe Triage™ Managed Phishing Defense Center noticed a handful of campaigns using a new tactic for advanced PayPal credential phishing. The phishing website looks very authentic compared to off-the-shelf crimeware phishing kits, but also levels-up by asking for a photo of the victim holding their ID and credit card, presumably to create cryptocurrency accounts to launder money stolen from victims.

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TrickBot Featured in New Wave of Phishing Emails Signaling Renewed Use of this Botnet Malware

June 13, 2017 by Cofense in Internet Security AwarenessPhishing

The TrickBot financial crimes and botnet malware has seen mild usage since its introduction in late 2016. While it is able to emulate many of the features that made the Dyre trojan so successful, many aspects of its deployment left it rough around the edges. Examples of this roughness like persistence via a scheduled Windows task named “Bot” limited this malware’s evasion and anti-forensic capabilities. Furthermore, previous deliveries leveraged relatively simplistic techniques such as relying on executables in archives attached to phishing emails securing new infections. However, with some very minor refinements to both the malware resident and delivery processes,...

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PhishMe® Adds GDPR Compliance Training Module to Complimentary CBFree Offering

June 8, 2017 by Cofense in PhishingInternet Security Awareness

Beginning today, we’re offering a complimentary, computer-based training module covering the European Union’s recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as part of our PhishMe CBFree™ package to help support companies throughout the UK and Europe that are required to comply.

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