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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. We have observed a number of attacks leveraging password protections on attachments and their macros, a tactic that has been successful for years.

TYPE: Malware – Remote Manipulator System

DESCRIPTION: Software update-themed emails spoof a travel company to deliver a .txt file containing a URL which recipients are encouraged to visit. The URL downloads a malicious Remote Manipulator System sample. Cofense analyzed RMS almost a year ago.

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Spoofing the videoconferencing platform Zoom, this phish delivers an attached html file that holds a phishing link. The victim is led to a phishing page spoofing Microsoft Outlook designed to steal credentials. Phishing attacks are taking advantage of the uptick in Remote Work to trick victims into clicking.

TYPE: Malware – Ursnif

DESCRIPTION: Finance-themed campaign delivers an attached, malicious Microsoft Excel file. Within the file, password-protected macros deliver Ursnif to the victim’s computer. Cofense published an analysis of Ursnif back in 2017.

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Finance-themed emails deliver attached .xlsx files containing links to a SharePoint page hosting another .xlsx file with a link leading to a credential phishing page with a “Office 365 Buisness” banner at the top and has categories for creds to O365, Outlook, AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, and “other mail”.

TYPE: Malware – Valak

DESCRIPTION: Response-themed emails deliver attached password-protected archives containing Office macros, which we have been reporting on since 2011. The Office macros download a binary which drops the first stage of a Valak malware downloader infection. Valak then downloads a plugin manager binary.

TYPE: Malware – NetWire

DESCRIPTION: Request-themed emails spoof well-known vendors to deliver an attached .xlsb file with password-protected Office macros which download GuLoader. GuLoader then downloads the NetWire Remote Access Trojan.

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: This Coronavirus-themed phish spoofs Microsoft Outlook promising an upgrade to gain access to a “Covid-19 employee tracker”. The link leads to a credential phishing site which exfiltrates stolen credentials to a legitimate URL. Attackers continue to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to lure victims.

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.

Recommendations

Cofense recommends that organizations train their personnel to identify and 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.

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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