Phish Found in Proofpoint-Protected Environments – Week Ending July 26, 2020

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100% of the phish seen by the Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) have been found in environments protected by Secure Email Gateways (SEGs), were reported by humans, and automatically analyzed and dispositioned by Cofense Triage.

Cofense solutions enable organizations to identify, analyze, and quarantine email threats in minutes.

Are phishing emails evading your Proofpoint Secure Email Gateway? The following are examples of phishing emails seen by the PDC in environments protected by Proofpoint. Reply chain attacks are of particular note this week, as attackers use existing email discussions to lend a sense of legitimacy to their phish. Cofense saw these Zombie Phish last year and they continue to find success.TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Here’s a voicemail-themed attack that includes a partial transcript – just enough to lure the recipient into clicking. Doing so leads to a Google Forms page that captures and exfiltrates login credentials. Voicemail spoofs aren’t new. Cofense has been blogging about them for some timeTYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: With due dates for taxes extended thanks to the COVID-19 situation, tax-themed phish are still effective. Posing as a Human Resources representative, this phish uses Infogram URLs to capture email login credentials.
TYPE: Malware – QakBot

DESCRIPTION: Over a year ago, Cofense wrote about Emotet and its use of compromised emails to perform reply-chain attacks. This example uses an attached PDF with links to a macro-laden Microsoft Office document to deliver first Emotet and then QakBot.
TYPE: Malware – Pyrogenic

DESCRIPTION: Another example of reply-chain tactics to trick a recipient into following the embedded links to the Pyrogenic Stealer malware. This one uses a finance theme spoofing an Accounts Payable department.
TYPE: Malware – Agent Tesla

DESCRIPTION: No one wants to miss a sale, and the attackers know it. They use a quotation theme to lure the recipient into clicking the image link to download the Agent Tesla keylogger, a piece of malware we covered last year.
TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Knowing users are becoming better trained to detect phishing attempts and to rely on existing security mechanisms, the attackers behind this phish spoof an email quarantine service to encourage the recipient to click and give up their credentials. Can your users tell the difference between your organization’s quarantine and a fake?TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: This last example for the week spoofs the Human Resources department using a Coronavirus theme to encourage the recipient to click the link and give up their credentials. Cofense put together a Coronavirus InfoCenter with numerous resources to help educate your organization on these threats.
Malicious emails continue to reach user inboxes, increasing the risk of account compromise, data breach, and ransomware attack. The same patterns and techniques are used week after week.


Cofense recommends that organizations train their personnel to identify and empower them to report these suspicious emails. Cofense PhishMe® customers should use SEG Miss templates to raise awareness of these attacks. Organizations should also invest in Cofense Triage and Cofense Vision to quickly analyze and quarantine the phishing attacks that evade Secure Email Gateways.

Interested in seeing more? Search our Real Phishing Threats Database.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.

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