“You’re Invited!” to Phishing Links Inside .ics Calendar Attachments

By Ashley Tran, Cofense Phishing Defense Center

Every day threat actors find more and more ingenious ways to deliver phishing emails to end users. From direct attachments to using third party document hosting sites and… calendar invitations? The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has unearthed a new phishing campaign in multiple enterprise email environments protected by Proofpoint and Microsoft that delivers .ics calendar invite attachments containing phishing links in the body. It’s assumed that the attackers believe stuffing the URL inside a calendar invite would help avoid automated analysis.

Figure 1: Email Body

The subject of this phish is “Fraud Detection from Message Center,” reeling in curious users. The sender display name is Walker, but the email address appears to be legitimate, possibly indicating a compromised account belonging to a school district. Cofense observed the use of several compromised accounts used to send this campaign. Using a compromised real account originating from Office 365 allows the email to bypass email filters that rely on DKIM/SPF.

The story in this phish is a version of a classic lure “suspicious activity on the user’s bank account.” This attachment, however, doesn’t jibe with the ruse considering it’s a calendar invite. A more fitting lure would have been something like “I attached a meeting invite; can you please attend?” Maybe this attacker flunked out of Internet bad guy school.

Figure 2 shows what the calendar invite looks like when opened. Note that it’s hosted on the legitimate Sharepoint.com site, an issue that continues to be problematic for Microsoft.

Figure 2: Calendar invite (.ics) Attachment

Upon clicking the link in the fake invitation, a relatively simple document opens with yet another link to follow, as seen in Figure 3 below:

Figure 3: Phishing Page

If the victim follows that link, they are redirected from sharepoint.com to a phishing site hosted by Google. Clicking anywhere on the document then redirects users to a bogus phishing page seen in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Phishing Page

As shown in Figure 4, the final phishing page users are directed to is hosted on:

hXXps://storage[.]googleapis[.]com/awells-putlogs-308643420/index[.]html

This is not the first time threat actors have utilized “storage[.]googleapis[.]com” to host their phish. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common thanks to its ease of use as well as the built-in SSL certificate the domain comes with which adds the “trusty” padlock to the side of its URL.

Once redirected here from the previous SharePoint page, users are presented with a convincing Wells Fargo banking page, as seen in Figure 4. This page asks for a variety of Wells Fargo account information including login details, PIN and various account numbers along with email credentials. At surface value, it may seem excessive to request this level of information, but under the pretense of “securing” one’s account, it may not appear to be so much.

Should users provide all the requested information, they will finally be redirected to the legitimate Wells Fargo login page to make the user believe they have successfully secured their account and nothing malicious has taken place.

And to think, all of this from a simple calendar invite. It goes to show, users and their security teams must constantly remain vigilant as threat actors continue to find new ways to slip past gateways right into inboxes.

Network IOCs IPs
hXXps://mko37372112-my[.]sharepoint[.]com/:b:/g/personal/admin_mko37372112_onmicrosoft_com/ERto2NKXu6NKm1rXAVz0DcMB431N0n1QoqmcqDRXnfKocA 172[.]217[.]13[.]240
hXXps://storage[.]googleapis[.]com/awells-putlogs-308643420/index[.]html 13[.]107[.]136[.]9
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.

Zoom Phish Zooming Through Inboxes Amid Pandemic

By Ashley Tran, Cofense Phishing Defense Center

The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has observed a new phishing campaign that acts as a Zoom video conference invitation to obtain Microsoft credentials from users.

As noted in numerous other articles posted by Cofense, it is no secret this pandemic has changed the threat landscape. From emails to employees regarding safety guidelines to the latest news from the WHO or CDC on Coronavirus cases in the area- threat actors have done it all to make the most of this situation, especially targeting remote workers. Within that group of remote workers there are users who are unfamiliar with teleconferencing and the emails that come with using the service. Some users may not have the best home office set up and work on monitors that barely afford them a proper view, making it difficult to look over these emails closely. The attack covered below is specifically aimed toward those users.

Figure 1– Email Bodies

For this attack, users are informed of an invite to a video conference from what appears to be “Zoom Video Communications” which is followed by either as noted in Figures 1-2. For now, this all appears to be in order, however looking more closely at the senders, there are barely noticeable typos- communcations missing an ‘i’, confrence missing an ‘e’. While this may seem like just an innocuous mistake, it’s in fact a carefully crafted scheme.

Mere hours before sending this email, the threat actors registered the domains zoomcommuncations.com and zoomvideoconfrence.com, as noted in s 3-4.

Figure 2-3: Email Body

When visiting either domain, it may appear to be a German site speaking on different Lasik treatments and surgery options. However, this is merely a cover for its true purpose of helping send malicious emails while impersonating teleconferencing giant Zoom.

The email itself is reminiscent of a legitimate Zoom communication- the blue Zoom logo, a vague mention of a video conference for users to join and a link for them to review said invitation; it’s inconspicuous enough and mostly free of the grammatical mistakes phish often contain.

Hovering over the “Review Invitation” the link shown is:

hxxps://r[.]smore[.]com/c?u=pastell[.]in/ca07-b36n5-65m-c53b-o26v-62h-e79-t56e-c44=REDACTED[@]company[.]com

For this attack, the threat actor used a redirector link from Smore, a newsletter creation and distribution website. This is not the first time threat actors have used a legitimate online service’s personal redirect links to pilot users to malicious sites. In this case, this redirect link, once clicked, navigates users to:

hxxp://www[.]pastell[.]in/ca07-b36n5-65m-c53b-o26v-62h-e79-t56e-c44

Which then redirects to the final page:

hxxps://logonmicrosftonlinezoomconference[.]azureedge[.]net/

For this attack, the threat actor has utilized Microsoft’s Azure is used to host the phishing domain, but this is not a new tactic. Threat actors flock to these domain hosting services due to some of the perks it offers. For this service, a free SSL certificate comes with any website hosted through it which adds a padlock next to the URL in the address bar, most people incorrectly assumes this indicates a site is legitimate. Another benefit of Azure is the customization option for the subdomain, allowing a URL to mimic or at least appear as a legitimate URL for the service attacks are attempting to impersonate. In this case, the subdomain is “logonmicrosftonlinezoomconference”, with all the keywords most users would expect to see in a Zoom email that goes to a Microsoft login page: “logon microsoft” and “zoom conference”. With both a padlock in the address bar along with relevant names displayed, this attack becomes less noticeable to most users.

Figure 4: Phishing Page

Figure 5 shows the phishing page users are presented with should they make it this far. The page is a generic Microsoft phish with an accompanying URL which, once again, seems to legitimize the phish to users.

The request is simple: “Sign in to Zoom with your Microsoft 365 account.” At face value, this seems like a completely reasonable use of credentials. And since Zoom allows for users to login in via SSO and most companies have linked Microsoft credentials to the platform, some users may even be familiar with Microsoft helping to access their Zoom account.

Meanwhile, with the user’s email appended in the URL, it in turn pre-populates the username field with that information, leaving only the password left for the user to provide.

Network IOC  IP 
hxxps://r[.]smore[.]com/c?u=pastell[.]in/ca07-b36n5-65m-c53b-o26v-62h-e79-t56e-c44?e5=REDACTED[@]company.com 52[.]27[.]29[.]106
hXXp://www[.]pastell[.]in/ca07-b36n5-65m-c53b-o26v-62h-e79-t56e-c44 209[.]159[.]154[.]74
13[.]107[.]246[.]10
hXXps://logonmicrosftonlinezoomconference[.]azureedge[.]net/ 13[.]107[.]246[.]10
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.

Phishers Cast a Wider Net in the African Banking Sector

By Elmer Hernandez, Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC)

The Cofense Phishing Defence Center (PDC) has uncovered a wide-ranging attempt to compromise credentials from five different African financial institutions. Posing as tax collection authorities, adversaries seek to collect account numbers, user IDs, PINs and cell phone numbers from unsuspecting customers.

One such email, which was found in environments protected by Proofpoint and Microsoft, alleges to come from the South African Revenue Service’s (SARS) eFiling service. It claims a tax return deposit of R12,560.5 (South African Rands), approximately $700 USD, has been made to the user’s account and urges them to click on their financial institution in order to claim it. The real sender of the email, however, appears to be a personal Gmail address that may have been created or compromised by the adversaries.

Figure 1 – (Partial) Email Body

As seen in Figure 2, it is erroneously assigned a score of zero in Proofpoint’s “phishscore” metric.

Figure 2 – Proofpoint Header

Dragging and Dropping a Net

Each of the images embedded in the email corresponds to a different bank. Clicking on any of these will take the user to a spoofed login portal corresponding to the selected bank. The spoofed banks include ABSA, Capitec, First National Bank (FNB), Nedbank and Standard Bank, all of which are based in South Africa. The lookalike sites are located at 81[.]0[.]226[.]156 and hosted by Czech hosting provider Nethost. It should be noted that, at the time of analysis, only the site for Standard Bank was unavailable. Figures below -6 show the phishing portals imitating each bank.

Figure 3 – ABSA

Figure 4 – Capitec

Figure 5 – FNB

Figure 6 – Nedbank

All spoofed portals were created using Webnode, a website building service known for its friendly drag and drop features. Despite this ease of use, adversaries have kept things rather simple, as all portals are basic forms with a few or no images. The portals ask for a variety of personal information, including account numbers, passwords, PINs and even cell phone numbers.

Adversaries can access all entries directly from the form itself. They can also receive notifications to an email address of their choosing every time a submission is made; the Gmail account used to send the phishing email may also be where adversaries are notified of each and every new victim. Webnode also allows the export of form submission data in xml and csv formats.

Webnode therefore is an optimal way to store and retrieve stolen user data. There is no need for additional infrastructure, nor to compromise any third parties. As in the case of the Standard Bank portal, the risk of discovery and subsequent closure of spoofed sites means adversaries can lose access to any unretrieved information. However, this risk seems to be offset by the ease with which replacement spoofed sites can be created.

IOCs:

Malicious URLs:

  • hxxps://absa9[.]webnode[.]com
  • hxxps://capitec-za[.]webnode[.]com
  • hxxps://first-national-bnk[.]webnode[.]com
  • hxxps://nedbank-za0[.]webnode[.]com
  • hxxps://standardbnk[.]webnode[.]com

Associated IPs:

  • 81[.]0[.]226[.]156

 

How Cofense Can Help:

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 38237 and a YARA rule.

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.

Got a Blockchain Wallet? Be Alert for These Phishing Emails

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 crypto currency. Better yet, they will be automatically eligible to receive future giveaways. Wow! This common attack method works because, well, who doesn’t like free money?

Fig 1. Email Body

Red Flag #2: The Dreaded Embedded Link

If we take a deeper look into the message body, we can see that there is an embedded hyperlink <hxxps://mysccess[.]lpages[.]co/blockchain/> From this, we can instantly tell something is not right. We can also see that the website linked to is NOT the official Blockchain wallet login page “https://login.blockchain.com/#/login”

You have been chosen to receive $50 in Stellar XLM as a valued Blockchain Wallet user.

To claim your free Stellar XLM, log in to your wallet and verify your identity. It only takes a few minutes. Once your identity is verified your XLM will be on its way to your wallet.

Better yet, you will also be automatically eligible to receive future giveaways.

     GET STARTED.<hxxps://mysccess[.]lpages[.]co/blockchain/>

Fig 2. Email Body in Plain Text

Red Flag #3: Indicator of Compromised Mailbox

From the email headers we can see that the threat source originates from the domain ame.gob.ec. This domain belongs to an Ecuadorian municipal government body. We also note that the email headers do not appear to be spoofed in any way apart from the “Nickname field” has been change to “Blockchain.” This would indicate that the mailbox used to send the phishing campaign has itself been compromised.

From: Blockchain <__________@ame.gob.ec>

Subject: Your airdrop of $50 is ready

Thread-Topic: Your airdrop of $50 is ready

Thread-Index: ozUHxyzm9QIDwDzmfizGH/nj/m+1AA==

Importance: high

X-Priority: 1

Date: Tue, 7 May 2019 12:03:45 +0000

Message-ID: <1224264524.394597.1557230625931.JavaMail.zimbra@ame.gob.ec>

Content-Language: fr-FR

 

Fig 3. Email Headers

Phishing Page: The main phishing page is a simple imitation of the https://login.blockchain.com/#/login page, but it contains the ability to steal all the information needed for an attacker to fully compromise your bitcoin wallet: wallet ID, passcode, and email address. Once the details are filled in, it will redirect to the legitimate blockchain site.

 

Fig 4. Phishing Page

Fig 5. Legitimate page

Right through the Gateway!

During our analysis, we noticed that the phishing email passed right through two different email security solutions: Forcepoint and Microsoft Anti-Spam and Anti-Malware solution in Office 365.

Conclusion: Again, we’ve detected 180+ of these emails in the past week alone. In recent headlines, hackers stole bitcoin worth $41 million from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, using a number of techniques including phishing emails. The attack was the latest in a string of thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges around the world. Be sure to educate users about phishing threats in general and Bitcoin wallet phishing in particular!

Learn more about the Cofense Phishing Defense Center. See how we analyze user-reported emails to provide actionable threat intelligence.

IOC’s

hxxps://mysccess[.]lpages[.]co/blockchain/

 

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.