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Phish Found in Proofpoint-Protected Environments – Week Ending September 27, 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. This week we see a plethora of links – most of them using trusted services – reach customer inboxes. When technology is unable to block phish because of the risk of blocking legitimate emails, it’s well-trained users that detect and report threats.

sample phish spoofs the irs to deliver a link to buer loader

TYPE: Malware – Buer Loader

DESCRIPTION: This phish uses the element of surprise and urgency with a tax theme to lure the recipient into clicking the link. The link looks trustworthy, since it’s hosted in Google Docs. It leads, however, to an install of the Buer Loader. Cofense has been writing about the use of Google Docs in phishing attacks since 2017.

sample phish uses a payment theme to deliver a link to credential theft

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Leveraging a finance theme, this phish uses trustworthy Microsoft OneDrive URLs. Okay, so they’re not quite trustworthy, since they’ll lead the recipient to a Microsoft OneNote document that redirects to a credential harvesting site. Where did you want to go today?

sample phish uses a shipment theme to deliver a link to netwire rat

TYPE: Malware – NetWire RAT

DESCRIPTION: Spoofing a logisitics company, this phish promises shipping information but hides malicious links behind innocent-looking images. Clicking the link leads the recipient to install GuLoader, which installs the NetWire Remote Access Trojan.

sample phish delivers a google doc link to buer loader that installs bazarbackdoor

TYPE: Malware – Buer Loader

DESCRIPTION: If you’re thinking this phish looks awfully familiar, it’s not you. Aside from the change to an employee termination theme, this attacks leverages the exact same tactic as our first example – a Google Docs-hosted threat. In this case, the Buer Loader goes on to install the BazarBackdoor malware. These attacks should get you all fired up.

sample phish delivers xlsx attachment leading to agent tesla keylogger

TYPE: Malware – Agent Tesla

DESCRIPTION: Using a purchase theme, this phish offers to place an order for seafood but delivers a malicious Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with a CVE-2017-0199 to CVE-2017-11882 download chain to the Agent Tesla Keylogger. I wonder if they wanted that seafood shipped COD?

sample phish delivers credential phishing link using a document theme

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: Spoofing a healthcare organization, this document-themed phish delivers a link to a credential harvesting site. Although redacted to protect the innocent, this sample used a very legitimate-looking message with signature block and legal disclaimer.

sample phish spoofs salesforce to deliver credential phishing link

TYPE: Credential Theft

DESCRIPTION: This phish uses urgency and the trappings of a popular SAAS platform to lure the recipient into clicking the link. In this case, the links lead to a credential harvesting site. Although not a panacea, Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) is still an effective way to protect your organization.

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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