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Phish Found in Proofpoint-Protected Environments – Week Ending September 13, 2020

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. Attackers continue to find ways to hide their intentions from technical controls using encrypted attachments and malware hosted on trusted platforms.

sample phish uses a quote theme to deliver a pdf attachment with a link to azorult stealer

TYPE: Malware – AZORult Stealer

DESCRIPTION: This quotation-themed phish has all the pressure of a high stakes auction. It’s a lot of words – many of them impactful – in a short amount of space. Rather than raising their hand for an unintended bid, the recipient of this email clicked the Cofense Reporter button so our PDC could identify a malicious link in the attached PDF that led to the AZORult Stealer malware. Going once. Going twice. Gone!

sample phish uses a document theme to deliver a password-protected zip to install iced-id

TYPE: Malware – Iced-ID

DESCRIPTION: This phishing threat isn’t just cryptic, it’s encrypted! This response-themed attack delivers a password-protected .zip archive containing a macro-laden Microsoft Office document with a .hta downloader for Iced-ID. Opening this chilly attachment would have been a grave mistake.

sample phish uses an invoice-theme to deliver a malicious link leading to the wsh remote access trojan

TYPE: Malware – WSH Remote Access Trojan

DESCRIPTION: Many of us long for the days of unfettered travel and this email spoofs an aviation company with an invoice for a booked flight. It actually delivers a link to Google Drive that will download a VBS Loader to install the WSH Remote Access Trojan. Be careful what you wish for!

sample phish uses a response theme to deliver ursnif via embedded link on google docs

TYPE: Malware – Ursnif

DESCRIPTION: Skipping the friendly skies, there’s always the open road. And any decent road trip requires a sound insurance policy. This response-themed phish goes into considerable detail to convince the recipient to click the embedded links that will lead to a password-protected .zip archive containing VBS Droppers to run Ursnif. Our recipient appraised the offer and reported it to the security team.

sample phish uses a document theme to deliver a link to a credential harvesting site

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Un autre phish! Using a document theme, this simple attack uses Microsoft OneDrive links to host credential stealing web pages. Incroyable!

example phish with a bonus theme uses a .html attachment to install a reconnaissance tool

TYPE: Malware – Reconnaissance

DESCRIPTION: Just like the attackers, we’re throwing in this last phish as a bonus. A promise of money is often enough to lure a recipient into clicking. Had they opened the attached .html file, they would have been led to a macro-laden Microsoft Office document delivering a reconnaissance tool.

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.

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