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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. With a preponderance of XXE attachments being used to reach inboxes, organizations would be best served by restricting these attachments manually as well as inventorying their archive management tools, such as WinRAR, to assess their risk.

sample phish uses an embedded image linked to agent tesla

TYPE: Malware – Agent Tesla

DESCRIPTION: This German-language, quote-themed phish uses a linked image that looks like a quote but leads to the Agent Tesla Keylogger. Cofense has written about the commercialization of Agent Tesla, bringing malware to the masses.

Sample phish uses a shipping theme to deliver a credential stealing link

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Delivery-themed phish are a global phenomenon, as this French-language email delivers embedded links to lure a recipient into clicking and giving up their credentials. Just report as phish and delete, s’il vous plait.

sample phish uses a banking theme to deliver the remcos rat with a .xxe attachment

TYPE: Malware – Remcos

DESCRIPTION: This finance-themed attack continues the recent surge in the use of .xxe archives to get malware into inboxes. This phish delivers the Smoke Loader that will then install both the Remcos and NetWire Remote Access Trojans. Talk about a double-whammy!

sample phish with a billing theme delivers remcos rat via .xxe attachment

TYPE: Malware – Remcos

DESCRIPTION: Another .xxe example with a similar look and feel as the previous, but using a shipping theme. In this case the Remcos Remote Access Trojan is delivered by the GuLoader malware held within the delivered archive.

sample phish with a finance theme uses a .xxe attachment to deliver the smoke loader

TYPE: Malware – Smoke Loader

DESCRIPTION: Another finance-themed phish. This one spoofing a bank to deliver… you guessed it… another .xxe archive. This one installs the Smoke Loader malware, which Cofense used to see delivered via Microsoft Office exploits. It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.

sample phish uses a shipping theme to deliver a .xxe attachment to install remcos rat

TYPE: Malware – Remcos

DESCRIPTION: While it normally only takes 3 examples to indicate a pattern, we have a 4th XXE archive delivery this week. Another finance-themed phish that delivers a GuLoader to download and activate the Remcos Remote Access Trojan.

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 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.

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